HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Patriot's Day
HTS Overall Score:89
I find it sickeningly ironic that not 3 days before I sit down and watch “Patriots Day”, a movie about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, we’re privy to another horrific attack via bombs. This time it’s in the city of London and right now news is just wrapping up the major facts of the case. I sometimes feel a little weary and beleaguered in this day and age, watching what seems like a constant deluge of attacks and assaults on innocent lives. Here in America we consider ourselves one of the safest nations on the planet against outside bombings like this. Sure, we have crime. Sure, we have had our tragedies from home grown terrorists, but this recent amplification of political and religious based terrorist attacks around the world has put many people on edge. 911 was the start of the American “tensing up”, so to speak, and it has only gotten more intense since then. Nothing was more potent to the East Coast than the Boston City Marathon bombing in 2013, which not only shocked the nation to its core, but also put on a 4-day manhunt for the remaining terrorist at large. Effectively turning Boston into martial law. Something that had not been done in the United States to my personal knowledge. Once again, if it’s a natural disaster, or military/terrorist tragedy there is one director we turn to in order to recreate the events, Peter Berg. “Patriot’s Day” utilizes trademark Bergian blending of fact and fiction to create an emotionally compelling drama so that we may give honor and respect to the victims and heroes of that tragic week.
Peter Berg movies usually follow a very specific and typical pacing. They’re either military whirlwinds or nonstop action movies like “Deepwater Horizon”. “Patriots Day” is a little bit different. Instead focusing more on the chase of the two brothers AFTER the bombing rather than making a kinetic action film. Early on in the film we’re introduced to the characters that we’re going to see throughout the next two hours. Officer Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg, a Peter Berg staple), Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Real life survivors Jessica Kensky (Rachel Brosnahan) and Patrick Downes (Christopher O’Shea), and our two Chechenian terrorists Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) and Tamerian Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze). It’s only 13 minutes into the film when the bombs go off during the race and the ensuing chaos leaves you with this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. My first reaction was “how are they going to keep the intensity of the film up with the major event already over?), but Peter Berg makes the film less about the actual bombing itself and more about the manhunt for Dzhokhar and Tamerian told through the eyes of the people they encounter.
Right off the bat I have to say that “Patriots Day” is a heavy blend of fact and fiction. I don’t want anyone to go into the film thinking that all of what happened to the characters was 100% real. Some of it is heavily fictionalized (such as all of Tommy Saunders and his investigation. There was a lot added in his case and it comes across as staged if you know about the true events). There ARE some many real life facts that mirror the real investigation (such as the incident with Waterton Police Sgt. Jeff Pugliese (who’s played by J.K. Simmons here) and the kidnapping of Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang), which makes good use of actual surveillance footage spliced in with the film to give it a strangely authentic feel. However, much of the action taking place and the inclusion of Tommy Saunders is highly fictionalized. While I normally am very reticent and resistant to fictionalizing real life events like this, I understand what Director Peter Berg is trying to get across. This isn’t a documentary about what happened back in 2013, but a memorial to the courage and fortitude of the men and women who did what it took to get the Boston bombers brought to justice.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94106[/img]Pieces of the movie feel very sterile and clinical in nature, especially when we’re watching the FBI (with Kevin Bacon leading up the charge) try and track down the two brothers, but it’s when they steal the car and murder the MIT police officer (the encounter is obvious in its horrifying direction, and leaves the viewer with this feeling of dread until the fateful trigger pull) that the intensity ramps up and the kinetic energy that Berg so often employs in his films comes to light. The shootout between the Waterton police and the two brothers gets you viscerally engaged into the situation, rooting for the police officers to take down those two as they reek terror on the poor officers. The last act of the movie slows down a good bit, but by that time we’re winding up the film as Dzhokhar is being tracked down after his older brother is already dead on the operating table.
I really enjoyed “Patriots Day”. I’ve kept up to date with the events of the actual attack and understand fully that the movie isn’t meant to be a documentary style film that keeps EVERYTHING completely accurate, but I have to admit that some of the manufactured elements of the storyline are a bit puzzling. Mark Wahlberg’s character has a lot of backstory that comes to light that really isn’t relevant and the extrapolation of his life story really feels a bit cheap and hollow at the end. I was much more intrigued with Sgt. Puglliese and the rest of the Police crew than I was him. That and Melissa Benoist as Tamerlan’s wife just felt odd. She didn’t seem to fit the profile and her role as Supergirl kind of felt distracting to me when watching. It’s not a horrible set of flaws, but enough to make me feel like this could have been better with some tweaking on Berg’s part.
Rated R for violence, realistically graphic injury images, language throughout and some drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94114[/img]The film was actually shot using the Arri Alexa cameras at 3.4K source resolution, and then transferred to a 2K DI for processing. The Blu-ray is really REALLY nice looking, with a very sharp digital image that leaves very little to the imagination. I noticed right off the bat that this isn’t a very color graded film. They intentionally left it fairly neutral with only the slightest of blue pushes to the image. Facial details and intimate clothing shots look amazingly detailed, showing off everything from grime and blood on the face to little fibers sticking out of shredded clothing. The black levels are great, but as is the case with the Arri Alexa cameras, many dark shots look a bit murky and softer than the daytime shots. This obscures a little bit of detail in the shadows, but not enough to ever be a major problem. There’s some banding in the background with blue, red and white tints to it (a strange phenomenon that I’ve been seeing in some recent Lionsgate releases), but no other major artifacting that I could detect.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94122[/img]Lionsgate has always impressed me with their audio tracks, but also their inclusion of having the Atmos/DTS:X tracks from the 4K releases also present on the Blu-ray releases as well. This is the case here as Lionsgate uses the much less common DTS:X format for the impressive audio mix. This isn’t a wild maelstrom of adventure, but the use of immersion is highly intense with the sound of helicopters thundering overhead and the chaos of the bombing event itself creating a 360-degree layer of claustrophobic immersion. There are quite a bit of dialog intensive moments where the Boston police are looking for the two brothers, but also quite a few moments where the intensity is ramped up to level eleven, such as the shootout between the brothers and the Waterton police, the car kidnapping, and the actual encounter at the boat near the end. LFE can be soft and powerful and restrained, but also viciously intense and thundering the next moment. There is a nice balance between the two and while there were times I would have liked some extra boom, most of the film is filled with some really deep and impactful low end sonic sensations.
• The Boston Strong: Stories of Courage
• The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale
• The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes' Stories
• The Cast Remembers
• Actors Meet Their Real Life Counterparts: A 2 Part Series
• Researching the Day
“Patriots Day” is a movie that makes me wonder why it was made, and I don’t mean that in a negative connotation. This was not a heroic escape under enemy lines like “Lone Survivor”, or a fight for survival like “Deepwater Horizon”. It was a tragic day that took the lives of many people and the resulting capture of the remaining bomber was not a day of celebration. It was a day of relief after 4 torturous days of tension and fear. It was a sense of accomplishment, but there was no heroic cheers or jingoism. There is a bleakness and raw desperation to the event that had me wondering just WHY the movie was made. Some of the fictionalized portions of the movie back up my feeling, but the real-life footage and real life interviews at the very end of the film made it worth the watch. Seeing their faces and their determination in the face of such a horrific event made me realize that this is a memorial. A filmic memorial to those who lived and died that day and to never forget that we are stronger than we think we are. Death may come, pain and suffering may happen in our life, but for those who struggle on and continue to fight, we salute you. Audio and video are nothing short of stunning for the Lionsgate release and this Blu-ray makes for one stunning technical marvel. Even the extras are more than healthy. Definitely worth a watch.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Peter Berg
Written by: Peter Berg, Matt Cook
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 core), English DD 2.0 (DVS), Spanish, French DD 5.1, English DTS Headphone:X
Runtime: 133 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Buy Patriots Day On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Patriots Day On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Good Watch
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