PATRIOTS DAY

PRE-SCREENING MUSINGS

Deepwater Horizon, for its great technical filmmaking, was so riddled with clichés ever to come out a better film for its good. That’s, in essence, what would make one worry about Patriots Day. The thing about Berg, however, is that his filmmaking has been far too inconsistent for one to predict how his next film would ever be.

The writer of this review was once mentioned to by someone a long time ago, “An artist is only as good as his last work.” The statement stands true for Berg, whose claim-to-fame was Friday Night Lights, almost succeeded by a more popular, if not much else, walk-of-shame that was Battlefield.

But then again, this had to be judged on its merit.

THE MOVIE

Danger lurking

By now, it should be quite apparent that Peter Berg’s found his favorite playground: films based on true-to-life people and incidents that invoke a feeling of pride and patriotism (pun not intended) within its viewers. With Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and now Patriots Day, you’d notice that their underlying stories run a similar line. While Lone Survivor continues to be a terrific effort of the three, however, for its breathless pace and mad visual filmmaking, Patriots Day might not be far behind (although it does seem to be far enough).

It’s a mostly good blend of docudrama and thriller, often merging the two to form mixed results. Unlike the wavering, redundantly narrated Deepwater Horizon, however, Berg still manages to keep its viewers on their toes. As the setup shifts to the actual manhunt, the atmosphere is tense, and the urgency is spot on. It almost seems to be close to achieving success.

What brings it down, however, is its inconsistent writing and terrible edit decisions. While structurally, both the storytelling and edit don’t have much to complain about, the devil here is literally in its details. In situations of turmoil, one would prefer to stay in on an uncomfortable psychological situation slightly longer—here, we’re given the highlights. In an incredible turn of events, we’re given a peek into Wahlberg’s protagonist and how affected he is by the bombings. Wracked by guilt, fear and just how the situation seems to have dawned upon him, he is a colossal mess.

Despite his usage of nominal clichés, [director Peter Berg] understands just how to subvert them simultaneously.ANKIT OJHA

Almost instantly, however, we’re taken out of the scene, never to explore how he manages to handle henceforth the trauma of what he’s just witnessed—in one scene, he mentions to his wife, “There was so much blood.” He’s in shock one moment, and the very next, he’s out on the streets being your friendly neighborhood… patrol cop?

Thankfully, through the tropes of documentation, there are a lot of interesting moments. Despite his usage of nominal clichés—terrorists seem to have an image system that just never seems to leave popular Hollywood visual storytelling devices—Berg understands just how to subvert them simultaneously. Your standard terrorist has an annoying younger brother who, while in the process of a kidnapping, asks the harangued victim, “Does your car have an iPod plugin?” It’s an important scene that doesn’t just set the viewers up for him as a humorous character, but also tries to understand that not everyone on the other side of the line behaves the same way.

Thankfully, Wahlberg and the characters surrounding the film’s hybrid narrative structure provide strong support. Michelle Monaghan is terrific as his wife; she’s given enough space within the film to make you care about her as a person. John Goodman, J. K. Simmons, and Kevin Bacon are sharp but functional. The real surprise in the movie, however, is Alex Wolff, who plays one of the perpetrators of the bombing. He’s hilarious, doesn’t serve to overdo his role, and works well within the film’s boundaries.

Love in the time of devastation

VERDICT

Patriots Day could have been way worse, and it’s not. It’s entertaining—if to a fault—and constantly manages to keep things running, even through the rough patches in its writing. Its hybrid of performative documentary and crime drama-thriller works to an extent, and the urgency Berg keeps viewers on their toes till the very end.

Of course, for a film that ticks quite a few checkboxes of a good film, you’d be disappointed. It could have been a way better film, and it’s not. But it’s not harmful in and of itself, and that should be reason enough to see this film once, at the very least, to know where you stand on it.

Watch the trailer here:

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Star Rating:

Plot

Chronicling the events leading up to—and after—the Boston Marathon bombings in ’13, this part-docudrama, part-thriller attempts to take up on a journey of one of the most urgent manhunts in recent history.

Cast

Mark Wahlberg
J. K. Simmons
John Goodman

Director

Peter Berg

Rated

R

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Cast Mark Wahlberg
J. K. Simmons
John Goodman
Director Peter Berg
Star Rating

THE PLOT

Chronicling the events leading up to—and after—the Boston Marathon bombings in ’13, this part-docudrama, part-thriller attempts to take up on a journey of one of the most urgent manhunts in recent history.

PRE-SCREENING MUSINGS

Deepwater Horizon, for its great technical filmmaking, was so riddled with clichés ever to come out a better film for its good. That’s, in essence, what would make one worry about Patriots Day. The thing about Berg, however, is that his filmmaking has been far too inconsistent for one to predict how his next film would ever be.

The writer of this review was once mentioned to by someone a long time ago, “An artist is only as good as his last work.” The statement stands true for Berg, whose claim-to-fame was Friday Night Lights, almost succeeded by a more popular, if not much else, walk-of-shame that was Battlefield.

But then again, this had to be judged on its merit.

THE MOVIE

Setting sail

By now, it should be quite apparent that Peter Berg’s found his favorite playground: films based on true-to-life people and incidents that invoke a feeling of pride and patriotism (pun not intended) within its viewers. With Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and now Patriots Day, you’d notice that their underlying stories run a similar line. While Lone Survivor continues to be a terrific effort of the three, however, for its breathless pace and mad visual filmmaking, Patriots Day might not be far behind (although it does seem to be far enough).

It’s a mostly good blend of docudrama and thriller, often merging the two to form mixed results. Unlike the wavering, redundantly narrated Deepwater Horizon, however, Berg still manages to keep its viewers on their toes. As the setup shifts to the actual manhunt, the atmosphere is tense, and the urgency is spot on. It almost seems to be close to achieving success.

What brings it down, however, is its inconsistent writing and terrible edit decisions. While structurally, both the storytelling and edit don’t have much to complain about, the devil here is literally in its details. In situations of turmoil, one would prefer to stay in on an uncomfortable psychological situation slightly longer—here, we’re given the highlights. In an incredible turn of events, we’re given a peek into Wahlberg’s protagonist and how affected he is by the bombings. Wracked by guilt, fear and just how the situation seems to have dawned upon him, he is a colossal mess.

Despite his usage of nominal clichés, [director Peter Berg] understands just how to subvert them simultaneously.ANKIT OJHA

Almost instantly, however, we’re taken out of the scene, never to explore how he manages to handle henceforth the trauma of what he’s just witnessed—in one scene, he mentions to his wife, “There was so much blood.” He’s in shock one moment, and the very next, he’s out on the streets being your friendly neighborhood… patrol cop?

Thankfully, through the tropes of documentation, there are a lot of interesting moments. Despite his usage of nominal clichés—terrorists seem to have an image system that just never seems to leave popular Hollywood visual storytelling devices—Berg understands just how to subvert them simultaneously. Your standard terrorist has an annoying younger brother who, while in the process of a kidnapping, asks the harangued victim, “Does your car have an iPod plugin?” It’s an important scene that doesn’t just set the viewers up for him as a humorous character, but also tries to understand that not everyone on the other side of the line behaves the same way.

Thankfully, Wahlberg and the characters surrounding the film’s hybrid narrative structure provide strong support. Michelle Monaghan is terrific as his wife; she’s given enough space within the film to make you care about her as a person. John Goodman, J. K. Simmons, and Kevin Bacon are sharp but functional. The real surprise in the movie, however, is Alex Wolff, who plays one of the perpetrators of the bombing. He’s hilarious, doesn’t serve to overdo his role, and works well within the film’s boundaries.

Love in the time of devastation

VERDICT

Patriots Day could have been way worse, and it’s not. It’s entertaining—if to a fault—and constantly manages to keep things running, even through the rough patches in its writing. Its hybrid of performative documentary and crime drama-thriller works to an extent, and the urgency Berg keeps viewers on their toes till the very end.

Of course, for a film that ticks quite a few checkboxes of a good film, you’d be disappointed. It could have been a way better film, and it’s not. But it’s not harmful in and of itself, and that should be reason enough to see this film once, at the very least, to know where you stand on it.

Watch trailer here:

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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