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Patriots Day (10/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 123 minutes.

OK for children.

If you believe this movie, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, there was a lot more to the capturing of the Muslim monsters who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing. For one thing, the shoot-out when these Islamic fiends were first captured come across like a war zone in this film. It revealed things that I never knew and I doubt if anyone else did, either, especially the street fight when they finally found the bombers. That was like WWIII! I wonder if it was really that violent because I had a hard time believing that the police would shoot all those high velocity bullets in a residential area. Many people could have been killed and wounded in their homes. And were they really throwing those bombs? If it was really like this, it was a battle royal and the recreation of it would do justice to any modern war film. But the following news story in the Boston Globe pretty much validated what was in the film: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/03/16/watertown-police-sergeant-testifies-about-gun-battle-tackling-tamerlan-tsarnaev/1Ybryakkj0rkkD7b4K0e1J/story.html

When I questioned its accuracy, I was advised by one person connected with the film, ďThe Watertown sequence is incredibly accurate and we had the law enforcement personnel who lived it on set each night it was filmed to fact check/advise on specifics.Ē

The story is told through the eyes of a fictional character, Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlburg), who is a composite of several Boston police officers. As near as I can determine, Saunders is the only fictional character in the movie.

I loved the acting. Mark Wahlberg constantly surprises me with his sensitivity and Iíve never seen J.K. Simmons give a bad performance and he doesnít here. All the character actors were perfect.  Even though itís pretty long (Iím one who thinks that no movie should exceed 90 minutes), I thought that Director Peter Berg was a master of pace and kept the entire 133 minutes enthralling. The recreation of the bombing was exceptional. I could go on and on but I like to keep my reviews short and sweet.

Although I was looking forward to it, I never expected it to be as good as it is.

Lots of people say they donít like to see films about things that actually happened and about which they have a wide knowledge. This film is an eye-opener. I thought it might concentrate on the poor victims, like the young child who was killed, and be a tear-jerker. While there are some sentimental moments, these are minimized. The film concentrates on the police who investigated and quickly captured these Muslim terrorists.

To enhance verisimilitude, Berg merged lots of archival footage into the final cut. While sometimes it is fairly easy to tell the archival from what Hollywood shot, it is weaved into the narrative so seamlessly that it greatly enhances the tale.

As any good historical drama should be, this is much better than a documentary, but, unlike most historical dramas forced upon us by Hollywood (like Jackie), this one is very, very close to what actually happened. And, believe me, even though you know what happened, this is a film not to be missed.