3,5 out of 4 stars
By Bayard Lewis
The bombing during the 2013 Boston Marathon was an event that shook the city to its core, but also created a collective sense of community around the survivors and first responders who experienced the aftermath. “Patriot’s Day” builds up vignettes of lives that would change following the act of violence. Moments in the lives of families and spouses create a somber recognition of the fragility of life.
Mark Wahlberg plays Tommy Saunders, a cop who must attend the marathon as part of a disciplinary action for bad behavior. We quickly forget his feelings of resentment over the assignment when tragedy strikes.
The manhunt for two suspects shuts down Boston for a few days as law enforcement works to stop their plans for more violence. A building sense of tension and a sustained feeling of realism help the action scenes to embroil the viewer in the midst of the chaos.
Director and co-writer Peter Berg shows the empowering strength of the survivors, how they have adapted to life with missing limbs and emotional scars. A husband and wife who survived together are portrayed in the film and then honored at the ending, telling their story of healing and how their injuries actually benefitted their lives.
Berg’s third collaboration with Mark Wahlberg may be his best. His previous films “Lone Survivor”, “Deepwater Horizon” also took historical events in American history, uncovering a soul and meaning in the tragedies. The continued emphasis on realism, personal stories, and parallel plot lines make “Patriot’s Day” a worthy film for mature audiences.