Patriots Day is a docu-drama which recreates the events before, during and after the Boston Marathon bombing of April, 2013. The film-makers tell this story with such marvelous craftsmanship that your mind is totally engrossed for the entire film. You should go with someone whose hand you can hold. It is that powerful.
The casting and the interweaving story lines are brilliant. You may think you already know the story, but you have to see it enacted in this movie. The acting is perfect. The screenplay and photography (hand-held cameras) are amazing.
There are a number of themes that stand out including the performance and spirit of the City of Boston when suddenly confronted by this incomprehensible tragedy: the Boston Police, the emergency services, the hospitals, and the citizens all stand out in a way that is so revealing as to how a very special large city reacts to a terrorist attack. The individuals whose stories are so compelling make you feel that you know them.
And I was fascinated by how a variety of law enforcement organizations came together so quickly to deal with the situation, including the FBI, Boston Police, the Massachusetts Governor, the Watertown Police, and a shadowy group–probably CIA. The ability of these groups to set up a command center rapidly and to have it equipped and manned with such expertise is awesome.
The way that the behind-the-scenes technicians worked with on-the-street law enforcement teams to nail the terrorists was fascinating, even as it revealed some mistakes that were made in the process.
It was also intriguing to see that these Muslim terrorists were not from the Middle East—they were from Chechnya, and they were here legally. It was upsetting to view the American wife of one of the murderers defend him and to see how college students tried to cover up for their classmate. This story exposes how hard it will be to prevent such attacks and why our nation’s efforts must be maximized.
At the end of the film was a postscript section where you learn about some of the characters (whose real stories were told in the film, played by actors) and to see how they actually look now.
I think this movie helps give a sense of confidence that we will find courage in America to deal with threats like this, although we won’t be perfect doing it.
Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.
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