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Review: Patriots Day

Patriots Day
01.11.2017
8 10

PLOT: A docudrama based on the Boston Marathon Bombings, from the event itself to the the manhunt for the terrorists responsible.

REVIEW: This has been a terrific year for director Peter Berg. Just a few months ago, his DEEPWATER HORIZON blew audiences away at the Toronto International Film Festival, and now, his other fact-based drama, PATRIOTS DAY, is getting an Oscar-qualifying run before its wide release January 13th. While DEEPWATER HORIZON was a commercial disappointment (although it sure deserved to be a hit) PATRIOTS DAY, as its title suggests, is a boldly populist thriller that should connect with a huge audience the same way his earlier LONE SURVIVOR did.

While not quite as impressive as DEEPWATER HORIZON, which I found quite radical for a $100 million plus film in its stripped-down approach, PATRIOTS DAY is another dynamic real-life nail-biter. While not as tight or concise a film as its predecessor, Berg nonetheless manages to subvert audience expectations at least somewhat, with more emphasis on the manhunt and the terrorists than the event itself.

Despite being front-and-center in all the ads and on the poster, Mark Wahlberg is only part of the ensemble. While the first act examines the bombing and the immediate aftermath through his eyes, by the time the manhunt is underway, Wahlberg becomes peripheral. Instead, it weaves together the individual stories of the people bombers Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff in a standout performance) have violent encounters with while on the run. Each person they encounter is heroic in their own way, reflecting the often repeated “Boston Strong” motto which might have made for a more appropriate title than PATRIOTS DAY. These range from MIT cop Sean Collier (Jake Picking), to Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang) the defiant driver who played a big part in the brothers eventual capture, to Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons), an off-duty Watertown police Sergeant who ended up in the middle of a massive firefight (impressively staged by Berg as the movie’s true centerpiece).

Everyone is terrific, with Wahlberg again doing an excellent job conveying the ordinary decent-ness of a regular guy-cop who comes face-to-face with the unimaginable, and Wolff, a former tween star, stealing the show as the inexplicably radicalized Dzhokhar. This extends to the smaller roles, with a late-scene involving the cross-examination of Tamerlan’s radicalized wife (Melissa Benoist) by a Muslim cop (Khandi Alexander) being a standout and quite a chilling insight into the radicalized mind. Technically, the movie is top-notch, with sharp visuals and the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is as good as any they’ve composed for David Fincher. It helps emphasize the thriller aspects of the film, especially in the tense confrontation with Dun Meng.

All that said, there are a few things about PATRIOTS DAY that didn’t work so well. For one thing, Berg uses a lot of shaky cam, something that’s become increasingly tiresome. And some of the bickering between the salt-of-the-earth Boston cops and the tighter-wound FBI agents (with Kevin Bacon as the agent in-charge) could have been jettisoned to make the film just a little tighter. Overall though, this is another incredibly strong effort from Berg, who’s really found a niche in his real-life thrillers, with him quickly becoming a master of the form. Hopefully it’s a genre he returns to as very few are able to do it as well. For a guy a lot of us were writing off after BATTLESHIP, he’s well on his way to becoming one of the most consistent directors out there.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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8:15AM on 01/15/2017
Khandi Alexander didn't play a muslim cop. She more then likely worked for the CIA and only pretened to be Muslim for the sake of the interigation.
Khandi Alexander didn't play a muslim cop. She more then likely worked for the CIA and only pretened to be Muslim for the sake of the interigation.
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10:06PM on 01/11/2017
Looks good, I'll be seeing it next week. But stop slamming Berg for doing "Battleship", and stop slamming the movie in general. He did it so he could do "Lone Survivor", and ended up making a ridiculously fun popcorn movie that deserves more love.
Looks good, I'll be seeing it next week. But stop slamming Berg for doing "Battleship", and stop slamming the movie in general. He did it so he could do "Lone Survivor", and ended up making a ridiculously fun popcorn movie that deserves more love.
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1:20PM on 01/11/2017

I gotta give it a 6, proving once again that Brumbay oversells these movies

The movie was fine, it felt like the generic rushed true story movie. The shaky cam killed a lot of the tension and ruined some moments that would have been better off as a still shot, just to let the audience take in the impact of what happened. Rule of thumb, take off two points from this guys reviews so if he says 8, its usually a 6.
The movie was fine, it felt like the generic rushed true story movie. The shaky cam killed a lot of the tension and ruined some moments that would have been better off as a still shot, just to let the audience take in the impact of what happened. Rule of thumb, take off two points from this guys reviews so if he says 8, its usually a 6.
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3:59PM on 12/20/2016
Id give it more a 6. It works, but it's so straight forward. I think the huge cast is a problem with me. They tried to cover such a huge amount of the people involved, it came off as kind of impersonal and formulaic. There are some great moments and I do like some of the personal connections, but I felt it would have worked better focusing more on just a few characters and elaborating more on them.
Id give it more a 6. It works, but it's so straight forward. I think the huge cast is a problem with me. They tried to cover such a huge amount of the people involved, it came off as kind of impersonal and formulaic. There are some great moments and I do like some of the personal connections, but I felt it would have worked better focusing more on just a few characters and elaborating more on them.
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4:15AM on 12/20/2016
This movie looks great, but Deepwater horizon absolutely bombed. These guys make good movies together but their timing couldnt be worse on these last 2. Deepwater was years too late, and even though Wahlberg nails the blue collar role, its out of his depth in terms of box office because hes a max 40-70 million dollar guy without a brand or remake/sequel type of movie. That being said this movie is kind of being released in an odd time where conspiracies are kind of mainstream and because theirs
This movie looks great, but Deepwater horizon absolutely bombed. These guys make good movies together but their timing couldnt be worse on these last 2. Deepwater was years too late, and even though Wahlberg nails the blue collar role, its out of his depth in terms of box office because hes a max 40-70 million dollar guy without a brand or remake/sequel type of movie. That being said this movie is kind of being released in an odd time where conspiracies are kind of mainstream and because theirs actually a lot of people that believe the boston bombing was a conspiracy and it was actors that were on the scene. Anyways, this is gonna be another low grosser for the berg/wahlberg duo, and thats gonna be a little unsettling for producers cuz of 6 billion dollar man.
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11:04PM on 12/19/2016
I remember watching this unfold while I was at work (I was working for Homeland Security at the time), and thinking "yep this is definitely gonna be made into a movie".
I remember watching this unfold while I was at work (I was working for Homeland Security at the time), and thinking "yep this is definitely gonna be made into a movie".
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5:31PM on 12/19/2016
Glad to read the positive review and to see that Berg, and Wahlberg have done another great job with their third collaboration in honoring another vital, tragic, uplifting true story. The quality, heart, and dedication has really shown through their past efforts in bringing these stories to life, even though difficult to watch sometimes, it's great that to hear that Berg and Wahlberg knocked out out of the park again.
Glad to read the positive review and to see that Berg, and Wahlberg have done another great job with their third collaboration in honoring another vital, tragic, uplifting true story. The quality, heart, and dedication has really shown through their past efforts in bringing these stories to life, even though difficult to watch sometimes, it's great that to hear that Berg and Wahlberg knocked out out of the park again.
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12:30PM on 12/19/2016
This honestly doesn't surprise me. Battleship notwithstanding, Peter Berg is one of the best directors out there at the moment. I think he tends to get on his high horse a bit too often to preach about who is and isn't a hero in today's world. But that being said, I think he tells these people's stories in an honest and dignified light. Deepwater Horizon was a terrific movie, I can only imagine the same can be said for Patriot's Day. Will definitely be checking this one out.
This honestly doesn't surprise me. Battleship notwithstanding, Peter Berg is one of the best directors out there at the moment. I think he tends to get on his high horse a bit too often to preach about who is and isn't a hero in today's world. But that being said, I think he tells these people's stories in an honest and dignified light. Deepwater Horizon was a terrific movie, I can only imagine the same can be said for Patriot's Day. Will definitely be checking this one out.
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11:02AM on 12/19/2016
I've been a fan of Berg's work since Very Bad Things. He's an enthusiastic filmmaker with Battleship being his only misfire (although I find it a decent poporn, Bay-esque actioner).
I've been a fan of Berg's work since Very Bad Things. He's an enthusiastic filmmaker with Battleship being his only misfire (although I find it a decent poporn, Bay-esque actioner).
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10:26AM on 12/19/2016
Hey now!!! That's Kevin Bacon you're talking shit about... It doesn't matter what role he plays, where Star-Lord comes from he is considered a Hero. lol.
Hey now!!! That's Kevin Bacon you're talking shit about... It doesn't matter what role he plays, where Star-Lord comes from he is considered a Hero. lol.
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10:22AM on 12/19/2016
I have yet to check Deepwater Horizon but after reading this review it feels like Peter Berg is getting really really good as a director.
I have yet to check Deepwater Horizon but after reading this review it feels like Peter Berg is getting really really good as a director.
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