Patriots Day follows the story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, including the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible. On April 15th 2013, two brothers detonated homemade bombs amongst the Boston Marathon supporters resulting in 3 deaths – one an eight year old boy – and hundreds wounded. The FBI are brought in to support the local police as a manhunt begins to find the brothers, this leads to a chase across the city and with it more casualties. Patriots Day is a re-telling of this terrible event, and it really does the victims justice.
The film starts with the hours leading up to the marathon, showing us snapshots of different people and their lives, each linked to the marathon in various ways. These people and their stories are all based on real life individuals who were affected by the bombs. Mark Wahlberg leads the film as Boston cop Tommy Saunders, who is a key figure in helping track down the brothers, and witnesses a lot of the devastation that occurred. Mark is very good in these roles and here he expertly swaps between hard cop and vulnerability as the realities of what he is witnessing hit him.
The whole cast are superb, with a range of old and new faces, yet all take on the importance in the roles they are playing to produce a very well acted film. Michelle Monaghan, Kevin Bacon and J.K. Simmons are among the familiar faces, and if you’re a Glee fan you’ll recognise Melissa Benoist – although her role as one of the terrorist’s wives is a far cry from the teenage singer! The two bomber brothers are played by Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze and both give brilliant performances.
Visually the film is exceptional, from fast camera movements showing glimpses of injuries – which I’m not going to lie, did make me feel a little sick! – to overhead shots of car chases to extreme close ups. Every shot worked to keep the film dramatic, tense and emotional.
Overall, Patriots Day has taken a sensitive event and told it perfectly. Most touchingly the end of the film includes interviews with the real people whose stories were told and we are given the facts surrounding the sentencing of the surviving brother – something which is quite frankly shocking! Patriots Day is definitely one I’d recommend, it is over two hours long though but you’re so invested in the film you really don’t notice the length.