Patriots Day is a film which comes directed by Peter Berg who some may know for his work on the film Lone Survivor (2013). Patriots Day stars Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman and Michelle Monaghan. The film is about the events during and after the Boston Marathon bombing and the police’s attempts to capture the terrorists who attacked the marathon that day.
Going into this film, I hadn’t really seen that many ads for it or even heard much hype for this at all. Which is strange because Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman and Michelle Monaghan are a good mix of actors to have in any film. However after watching the trailer, I discovered it’s all about the Boston Marathon bombings and the events surrounding that event, while it can be interesting to watch this, I do feel a certain hesitation towards it. I guess it’s because I have watched so many of the terrorist related films in the past and while most are well made and have some good points to present, a lot are also almost like propaganda or are exploiting a certain event for money.
Patriots Day, I’m not sure about it. The film in itself is well made. The production value is great, the special effects are well done and the films tone is very tense at all times. All actors deliver with their roles and there’s not much to fault here with the story. However, while I am watching the film, I know that the events I am watching actually did happen in real life and they weren’t that long ago either.
While seeing the explosions and the deaths of many characters (those were real life people!) while I was eating some popcorn and sipping some coca-cola, I did start to wonder if really a film of this nature can be considered entertainment. I am also not sure if it’s educational either. Most of the time I go to the cinema for fun, I understand there’s some action movies out there that aren’t that great in story or anything, but are good popcorn films and I’m happy to recommend people to go and see them for fun, a recent example would be something like Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. But with Patriots Day, I can’t be sure if going to see this for ‘fun’or as something to recommend as a good popcorn film experience is what I could say to someone. I just don’t feel that watching an event like this at the cinema is entertainment and I feel that the film companies may have potentially exploited the event in order to get some money out of it. It actually kind of reminds of Steve Martin’s character in Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk who wanted to make a movie about what happened with the soldiers and was exploiting them and their situation in order to make some money. This is probably a real life example of that happening.
Other than that, the film is alright. I felt a certain anxiety watching the terrorists run around the place and hoped that the police could catch them soon. I do feel I learnt a lot watching this film though and from looking at what the response was, you could really feel in the cinema how powerful the United States is and how strong their police force is. Due to the tense tone of things, everything always felt dangerous, the police over there seem very powerful and very lethal.
Overall this film is a well made and the director I believe has done well with the story and translating it to the cinema screen. But I do question this film’s entertainment value as something fun to go and see this week. I guess it depends on if the subject matter appeals to you or not, after seeing quite a few of these films in the past, I feel I am losing interest in movies like this. I’m interested to see how well Patriots Day does at the box office.