Peter Berg's latest flick, 'Patriots Day' is an extreme success. It feeds off viewers' emotions and patriotism, and it is well done and innovative. Less than four years after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this movie was a risk. We watch action-thriller movies about tragedies and terrorism all the time, but 'Patriots Day' is different; it does not really feel like an action movie. 'Patriots Day' is different because it feels so real; we know exactly what is going to happen, but our eyes are still glued to the screen.
'Patriots Day' perfectly taps into our emotions and sense of patriotism. The beginning of the movie is smart: it introduces us to the everyday lives of Bostonians. For a movie where most of the audience already knows the major events and ending, 'Patriots Day' uses suspense masterfully. With the exception of the Tsarnaevs, we do not know the roles in the ensuing events of the people whom we meet in the beginning. Berg was wise to include the stories of everyday people, as they allowed the movie broaden its focus beyond the police. The score complemented the intensity of every scene beautifully. I am not a crier, but I cried during the bombing scene. The film does not shy away from showing blood and gore, which I believe was a necessary, but painful part of the movie. The movie's use of patriotism is also brilliant. It is not a rowdy patriotism; it is a somber one. Unlike some action films, nobody cheered at all during the movie: not even during the final capture of as the credits rolled. Everyone was too shaken up to do that; it would feel wrong to cheer after watching such horrific events.
The movie is also very technically innovative in its use of real footage. The movie seamlessly integrates marathon coverage, security camera footage, and stills taken for various scenes with the footage from the film. Much of the footage is familiar to viewers from news coverage less than four years ago, which serves as a reminder of how real the events of the movie are. It should also be noted how well the production team was able to match the film footage to that from the actual events of 2013. I was especially impressed with how seamless the transitions between security footage of Dzhokhar Tsaernaev (one of the Marathon bombers) and footage of Alex Wolff (the actor who plays Dzhokhar Tsaervaev) from the film were.
Overall, 'Patriots Day' was an important cinematic event that is not to be missed. We generally shy away from tragedy so recently after it happens; I cannot think of a predecessor. If you can think of one leave it in the comments. Rather, this movie tackles the tragedy head-on, even its most sensitive parts. It is all accurate, except for Mark Wahlberg's character who was fictionalized in order for there to be one central character around whom the movie could revolve. Its risks paid off, partly because America is ready to confront the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and partly because of how well and tastefully the movie was made. I look forward to seeing future projects under Berg's direction and watching more mature dramatizations of real life tragedies. This first one was truly an experience.