Sunday, 26 February 2017

#20 PATRIOTS DAY


Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons and Michelle Monaghan. Written by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson. Directed by Peter Berg. Budget $45 million. Running time 133 minutes. Certificate 15.

A mostly true dramatization of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing with only Mark Wahlberg's character, Boston police sergeant, Tommy Saunders, as the fictitious focal point of the film as the made up part of the movie. The rest is based on the truth, which is that two half-Chechen radicalised Islamic brothers, Tamerian and Dzhokhar Tsarnaebv planted two bombs at the Boston marathon, which killed three, including a seven-year old and injuring over 240 innocent bystanders that sparked a huge manhunt that resulted in the death of two police men and the total shut-down of Boston as thousands of police men searched 20 block for the terrorists.

The build up to the bombing and the subsequent police investigation and manhunt is gripping stuff, with an excellent cast headed up by Kevin Bacon, John Goodman and J.K Simmons as real life FBI Special Agent Richard Deslauriers, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and Police Sergant Jeffrey Publiese. While Themo Melikidze and Alex Wolff as the two terrorist brothers make for excellent, mustache twiddling baddies. Peter Berg has made a tense and involving drama, which is only hamstrung by one thing. Mark Wahlberg, the made up hero of the film. Once again, the idea that we, the audience needs someone we can identify with so as to allow the plot unfurl, however this isn't the case. When Mark's Tommy Saunders starts wittering on about the fact that neither he nor his similarly fictitious wife, Michelle Monaghan can have children I couldn't have cared less, I was much more interested in how this true life terrorist attack effected the real life people who were there on the day. Wahlberg's character marches around shouting out guidance and information but similarly manages to avoid any of the actual action, including one hilarious sequence where he races to a dramatic shoot-out only to finally arrive once it's all over. The film follows the police investigation and ends with the dramatic capture of the younger brother. Then we get to see the real life versions of people and find out what happened next, this is the most touching part of the film and the sense of how such an atrocity can bring out the best in people.

Well acted, very well directed, Berg really knows how to handle the tension and action and with some genuinely powerful action sequences, this is an involving and gripping film, only marginally ruined by the Wahlberg whose character feigns a limp for most of the film to show that he's determined to power through anything in the pursuit of justice.

7/10

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