Since the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, terrorism has been on people’s minds. While politicians and media use it as a tool for their own purposes, the scale of fear since has been keenly felt. Paying attention to detail in public places has been something authorities have told the public to do. ‘Patriot’s Day’ examines a true event with this mantra in mind. Real-life occurrences are usually more captivating than fictional ones as this factual tale strikingly proves.
Every year the American city of Boston has its popular marathon. On 15 April 2013 police sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) is part of the detail protecting runners and spectators from anything suspicious. Vigilant at his job, Saunders is shocked when bombs explode during the race. Joining forces with local law enforcement and the FBI, Saunders races to find those responsible. Appalled at the act of terror on his patch, Saunders’ zeal at capturing the culprits knows no limits.
‘Patriot’s Day’ is an often absorbing examination of how major crimes are solved. The police and FBI offer very different forms of law enforcement and their team-work provides ‘Patriot’s Day’s main point of interest. Both have their own style of catching suspects with Wahlberg’s street-wise cop having advantages over the slick FBI operation. Peter Berg’s direction ensures these scenes crackle with tension with cast turning in strong performances.
As with many recent films, ‘Patriot’s Day’ suffers from leaden pacing. It is also burdened with too many characters with some providing little to the story. Famous actors appear almost as if they were needed to beef up the film’s marketing than what they could bring. ‘Patriot’s Day’ also loses focus when away from the more interesting FBI/police interaction. Whilst some characters feel superfluous, they are conveyed with genuine conviction with the Boston streets coming alive with striking cinematography.
When locked onto its central premise, ‘Patriot’s Day’ is engaging. Giving genuine heart to the situation and having emotional pull, it generally works. One can only hope these events never happen with society’s ability to rise from a crisis once again seen in all its tenacity.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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