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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Patriots Day (2016)

On April 15, 2013, two homemade pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon. It killed three civilians and injured over 250 people. Two Chechen Islamic terrorists were responsible, one was killed in a shootout with the police and the other caught a few days later. This is a fictionalized account of that day and the days that followed. Directed by Peter Berg, I have some major problems with the film. Mainly, that it takes a horrific and recent tragedy and turns it into a DIE HARD action movie. In 2006, Paul Greengrass directed UNITED 93 which focused on the 9/11 tragedy. But he didn't use any recognizable stars and filmed it in a documentary style. He wasn't milking the tragedy for stand up and cheer applause. PATRIOTS DAY uses a fictional policeman (Mark Wahlberg) at its center but there are so many characters that except for (ironically) the two terrorists (Alex Wolff, Themo Melikidze), there's no time for character development. I cringed at the offensive attempts at humor during some of the scenes. I can respect the film's intentions to honor the first responders, the police and the victims and I applaud that. I can't applaud turning such a recent tragedy into an entertainment for the multiplex. There is one spectacular scene however that stands out and that's when the terrorist's wife (Melissa Benoit) is interrogated by a female detective (Khandi Alexander). It's what I'll carry away from the movie. I suspect I'll be in the minority when this opens during the Christmas holidays. Unless I've miscalculated, this is going to be a big hit. With Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons and Michelle Monaghan. 

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