Patriots Day takes one of the biggest modern tragedies and plays it up as an over the top pat on the back to a fictional character instead of real people.
Title Patriots Day
Director: Peter Berg
Summary: An account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it.
There was a running theme in 2016 of movies that were based on true events that would have been so much better if they were just told as straight up documentaries. Sully’s best moments were during the credits where we met the actual pilots and survivors of the ‘miracle on the Hudson’. Deepwater Horizon worked, sort of, because it decided to just focus on the real people instead of the politics behind the BP oil spill. It appeared that Patriot’s Day was going to do the same thing but instead decided to take the fact that there were real people involved in the Boston Marathon bombing and created a new character for no reason what so ever.
The moments where Patriots Day work are the moments when we’re looking at the real people as they go through this tragedy. A father that was separated from his son, a couple that didn’t know if the other was alive, the young student the Tsarnaev brother took hostage; those are the things that stand out. However, instead of picking a real cop or two to following around the writers created a fictional character who just so happens to be the reason everything worked out in the end. It feels like the movie was trying to respect all of the people involved in the investigation along with the victims, but everything Mark Wahlberg’s cop is on screen it’s like a slap in the face to those people. It was like the writers somehow didn’t think that anyone who actually exists in the real world was worth following around for a movie so they made someone up. If I was a cop or someone involved with the manhunt and investigation I would be livid.
There is also the fact that the movie doesn’t think the real events were dramatic enough and decide to turn the Tsarnaev brothers into these two conniving criminals instead of the idiots they really were. There is this underlying subplot throughout the movie that these two were involved in terror threats up to the top and people keep asking “who are these guys” with the kind of veneration usually supplied to Bond villains. The reality of these two idiots being idiots wasn’t good enough to build a movie around, apparently, so it goes out of its way to make the two look more connected and even smarter than they actually were. This is exactly the type of movie the Tsarnaev’s would have wanted made about them. They wanted the world to look at them like villains in an action movie and it looks like they got their wish.
Patriots Day is the worst kind of movie based on true events. There is an interesting story that could have been told here, a peek behind the curtain we all watched unfold almost four years ago, but instead we get something that looks so fake that if you didn’t know it was based on a real events you would have never guessed. The only moments that even work a little are the interviews with the real people during the credits.
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