Hollywood has this senile habit of picking every major terrorist attack and giving it a go at dramatising it onto the big screen. Patriots Day is a tribute to the efforts and pains that the infamous Boston Marathon tragedy of 2013, lead to.
I walked into the cinemas to watch this docudrama with the littlest of expectations, keeping in mind that a movie with a cast as stellar as this cannot be too disastrous. My verdict:
It did not disappoint. At all.
There a many many things that director Peter Berg got right with this movie. The movie, right from the get go, begins with scenes that seem unrelated and disconnected. But that doesn’t seem to bother much because somehow he sets a notion that there is relevance to every scene that’s being played. Every character that has screen time may initially seem random, only to fall in place to the narrative eventually. But unlike what I expected, there wasn’t much of an over-dramatisation of the same. Berg’s best trait in his reporting lies in his simplicity of storytelling.
The tone of the entire movie is remarkably paced to the effect where you get to bask in the warmth and tranquility of Boston’s natives only to wind up at the edge of your seat rooting for their survival. You get to loathe the perps and inevitably wind up lauding the city’s finest for bringing it all to an end and tying it up with a big fat comely bow.
There’s of course the inexorable glorification of the American way. That is something hollywood has done and will never dust off, and sometimes is most justified, for this episode deserves a salute to not only the feds, law enforces or cops, but also the civilians of the city. This investigation was quiet a public affair, and this movie throws light on this story for how it’s meant to be told. For Berg also very perceptively keeps drawing parallels to actual raw footages from the original case archives.
The thing that drew me to give this movie a shot in the first place was the talent of acting. JK Simmons, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, Michelle Monaghan, Melissa Benoist and of course Mark Wahlberg, who all do quiet a fine job. Non of the characters are underplayed so much so that you get an even louder nudge at the end of the film when Berg closes it off with the actual people that each of these guys played, giving us their review of the whole case from first hand.
Berg also tries to abstract this story by philosophising the ideology of good and evil, and the indestructible force that love is. Luckily for us the emotional pandering is blurred out by virtue of the thriller-esque recital which eventually objectifies this story to the sequence of incidents as is.
My favourite part of the movie is the beautiful montage of pan shots across Boston supplemented with reliable music scoring, played as interludes between scenes. This might have no relevance to the movie as a whole, but for some reason made me appreciate it better.
There are a lot of things that could have gone wrong in this movie, and that being said, this definitely is not the greatest of movies, or even in the same league for that matter. The movie already had limitations of being so by virtue of being bounded by a true story, of an abhorrent attack that too. So keeping in mind what it was curbed by, I’d say it has fared well.