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Film Review: 'Patriots Day' Proves Terrorism No Match for Patriotism

by Todd A. Smith


(Photo Credit: CBS Films) 



A Thin Line Between Victim and Hero 



There’s a famous cliché that states, “It’s a thin line between love and hate.”

Well, the movie “Patriots Day” shows that it is also a thin line between, anger, pain, inspiration and patriotism.

Unfortunately, some of the best movies over the last two decades have come from current events.

Those current events make for good storylines for a film, but also show how evil and treacherous the real world can be, especially in the post-Sept. 11 era.

“Patriots Day” centers on the 2013 Boston Marathon, scarred by the terrorist bombings and cop killing by brothers Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff) and the courage of residents, politicians and first responders that created the slogan “Boston Strong.”

In “Patriots Day,” filmmaker Peter Berg does an excellent job telling the individual stories of the people affected by the Boston Marathon bombing and how there lives tragically meet because of the cowardice of two terrorists.

Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) is an officer for the Boston Police Department who is on probation.

As a part of his probation, one of his duties is to work the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which is a gathering point for the king makers of Boston.

Deval Patrick (Michael Beach) is the governor of Massachusetts who has a worldwide disaster on his hands if law enforcement officials label the bombing a terrorist attack.

Sean Collier (Jake Picking) is an officer at MIT who is smitten by an MIT student with plans to take her on a date to a country music concert in a few days.

Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang) is a Chinese immigrant who has just bought a fancy Mercedes Benz, much to the chagrin of his parents back home, to impress the ladies.

All of their lives, and those of many others, will intersect with the Tsarnaev brothers that Patriots Day.

And although the brothers thought they would destroy the morale of Boston and other American cities that day, they actually brought everyone together and made everyone stronger and more inspired.

“Patriots Day” accomplishes the rare feat of being extremely intense and suspenseful, despite many people knowing what will happen because of the constant news coverage of the attack in 2013.

Anger is felt when Tamerlan and Dzhokhar appear on the screen the first time.

Queasiness is felt when the hospital saw is turned on during the amputation scene.

Familiarity is felt when real WBZ television footage is shown.

Even the clothes worn on that fateful day by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar are familiar and accurate.


And fear is felt when Dun has the misfortune of meeting Tamerlan and Dzhokhar for the first time.

The multiple bombings, especially those in the town of Watertown, Mass., are extremely graphic and intimidating.

To think of what the residents of the town must have felt like to hear their neighborhoods turn into a war zone is extremely emotional.

“Patriots Day” can only be criticized because it feels like familiar news coverage at times.  But Berg gives the story enough of a personal touch to make moviegoers feel like they really know the survivors, victims and heroes.


The line between the survivors, victims and heroes is so thin that the category of victim should be removed because everyone affected by the bombing, besides the Tsarnaev brothers, deserves the title of hero.






This article was published on Friday 13 January, 2017.
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