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Flies at half-mast: Patriots Day review by Rashid Irani

The movie recreates the harrowing events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath.

movie reviews Updated: Mar 03, 2017 16:17 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Patriots Day,Mark Wahlberg,Peter Berg
Director Peter Berg uses documentary-style detail and a jittery handheld camera to great effect, but overall the film is a bit simplistic and too high on jingoism.


Direction: Peter Berg

Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Alex Wolff

Rating: 2 / 5

Collaborating for a third consecutive time after Lone Survivor (2013) and Deepwater Horizon (2016), Peter Berg, the go-to director for films based on true-life tragedies, and actor Mark Wahlberg recreate the harrowing events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath.

The second significant terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, the twin blasts near the finish line of the race claimed the lives of three people and grievously injured hundreds.

In the race against time to apprehend the culprits, two other citizens were also killed.

Displaying documentary-style detail and using a jittery handheld camera aesthetic to great effect, Berg introduces us at the outset to a cross-section of the community who has lined up along the marathon route to cheer the participants on.

The focus is primarily on a sergeant-on-duty (Wahlberg, a Boston native himself) who becomes the Everyman hero of the story.

Wahlberg, a Boston native himself, plays a sergeant-on-duty who becomes the Everyman hero of the story.

Read: Rashid Irani’s review of Logan, also out this week

In quick succession, the viewer also gets to meet an FBI special agent (Kevin Bacon), the city’s police chief (John Goodman) and a veteran career cop (JK Simmons).

The film springs to dramatic life after the two bomber brothers (Themo Melikidze-Wolff), longtime US residents of Chechen origin, are identified. A savage shootout in a quiet residential neighbourhood and an encounter with a resourceful young Chinese man (Jimmy O Yang) who was carjacked by the perpetrators, are the highlights.

Simplistic to an extent, the good guys-versus-villainous ‘others’ narrative is further undermined by the occasional undercurrent of jingoism.

As for the epilogue in which the real-life subjects talk about their experiences of those fateful days, it merely serves to inflate the film’s already lengthy runtime.

Watch the Patriots Day Trailer here

First Published: Mar 03, 2017 16:17 IST