Patriots Day – “Red, White & Blue!”

Tragedy strikes on April 15, 2013, when two bombs explode during the Boston Marathon. In the aftermath of the attack, police Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) and Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) join courageous survivors, first responders and other investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the suspects and bring them to justice.

Review:

Morbus- While a good movie requires things such as good acting, sound and cinematography. Perhaps the most important factors to consider, however, are the writers’ story-telling ability together with the characters they create. What is a writer to do when scripting a movie based on a real event? Can one bend a real character using fancy studio lighting? Do you need even more than studio lighting when telling of an event that was so recently a top international news story? To portray the events as they occurred is in the realm of news and documentaries – not movies.

So, where does that leave the writers of ‘Patriots day’? Well, they have to write a story and build good characters of course. The poetic justice so judiciously employed by these writers did not stop them from using original news clips from the Boston bombing, the ensuing investigation and the city’s recovery. Like a documentary you may wonder? No, much more akin to an ode to Independence Day a movie showcasing America’s brave and determined rallying in the face of an evil attack by aliens with a hive mentality whose sole prerogative is to destroy America.

Where does this leave us with regards to the movie, Patriots day? This rendition of the manhunt for the Boston marathon Bombers in 2013 dramatises the police and FBI agents in their investigative work in the process of apprehending the (second) set of suspects. As one might expect, the thrilling investigation and harrowing bravery of those involved in the manhunt were packaged into well-tempered, charismatic and sometimes fictional (Wahlberg) hope-inspiring American patriots. After the introduction to the accented foreigner, the all-too-American-stoner (but still foreign) suspects and the hero-cop, we are lead through a rather thrilling manhunt for the suspects. The action-packed scenes and news clips will have you wishing all fictional documentaries were this good.

If you ever wondered what happened in the Boston Bombing, watch a real documentary. If you have no interested in what happened and enjoy an eye full of blue-blooded, hope toting American patriotism – you’re in luck. Also, Islam hates women and freedom. Wait, what’s that? Oh, that’s just a heart-string tugging soliloquy by the bomber’s wife about her underlying oppression. Because, aliens. 4/10

 

WARNING: *SPOILER-ish BELOW*

‘IT’- So little time, so much to say. Let’s just dive in, shall we?

I did not enjoy this movie. I found it insulting to the actual Boston Marathon victims, Boston police and the community. It was completely one-sided and barely touched on the real life Boston community, just glimpses thereof. Before I’m attacked, let me state my case.

The movie is based on the true events of the Boston Marathon bombing, it uses actual footage of the event but uses a fictional character to play the lead, Tommy (Mark Wahlberg) and tell the story. (YAS! The film rewards a fictional character with glory for a real-life tragedy and that is what mainly displeases me.)

The movie makes us believe that Tommy was the hero of a true-life event, not the actual Boston police, not the actual community but Tommy and Tommy alone. I mean without Tommy the FBI would be rendered incapable of capturing the bombers. Tommy’s bruised ego and Wahlberg’s unemotional face aside, the true events play second fiddle to a story that could have been extraordinary.

There was a line that stood out to me, a line that was supposed to have an emotional impact but I could just not empathise. It stuck with me because of its lack of effect, it was: “It’s all about love. Love will always beat hate.” In the moment, the line uttered by Tommy feels forced and desperate. It tries hard to seek compassion from the audience and attempts to be real, but fails because it’s corny, lazy and comes across unreal.

The movie alludes to the motives behind the bomber brothers Tamerlan (Thermo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff). Radical Islam, I think it was? And let me say that the performance by these two stars was quite believable. They look exactly like the real-life bombers and I felt like I wanted to catch them and just beat the stupid ‘radicalism’ out of them! Which brings me to the most likeable character, FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon). He is sensible, practical, sincere and I immediately connected with him. I wonder if real life DesLauriers was offended by the fact that he was seeking help from a fictional policeman the entire time…

What peeved me off, even more, was the fact that they negated to mention how social media played a pivotal role in wrongly accusing 3 foreign ‘suspects’. The film could have included highlighting the social media accusations that spread like wildfire all the way to the traditional news agencies. The accused were real people who feared for their lives. How did this affect them? How did they handle the situation? There were so many good angles to use, instead, they went for the fictional route. A patronising route that is the downfall for a movie that inevitable lacks sentiment because of an inaccurate and fictional story-line.

Let me not get started on how they portray bomber Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine (Melissa Benoist), and unintentionally create feelings of hate and resent towards people who are already attacked for being different. I guess that’s my biggest problem with this movie, it doesn’t give the ‘outsider’ the voice it deserves and barely does so for the Boston community or victims. Here’s a platform to encourage change and togetherness but fails miserably to do so by making people feel left out. It’s all about American patriotism, but to what extent does that patriotism become prejudice or xenophobia? And that’s my point, messages of exclusion inevitably breed hate.

I have absolutely no doubt that this movie will do extremely well and receive loads of positive recognition in America but it just didn’t sit well with me. And I just emphasised certain problems, not all of them. Personally, the best thing about this movie is Bacon and the ending(kinda), where we get to see the real survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings and hear their personal stories.  2/10

Let us know what you thought of the movie!

If you are interested in being a guest reviewer for Big Screen Hooligans contact us on bigscreenhooligans@gmail.com.

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