We are at war
Directed by: Peter Berg
Written by: Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons, Alex Wolff
Swift shot: It’s a rare thing to watch almost an entire film with a large lump in your throat, but that was how I watched Patriots Day. With only brief moments of levity, Peter Berg and his crew deliver a painful reminder of just how fragile we who demand freedom truly are. I had several survivors of the attack at my screening, which just added to the gravitas. By the end, there weren’t many people not in tears. While this isn’t a movie I think everyone will want to see, it is a movie I think everyone should see!
If you aren’t familiar with the events of April 15th, 2013, you probably are reading this review in the distant future, because to us now, there is no way we can possibly forget. I was actually at work, in Florida working on something and casually tweeting as I waited for systems to load and the like. When I saw the news come across the wire that the Boston Marathon was bombed, not once, but twice, my heart dropped. Here we go again.
Mark Wahlberg portrays Tommy Saunders, a Boston police sergeant who has pulled the marathon detail because he pissed someone off in his chain of command. Anyone who has ever worn any type of uniform probably knows this drill. He gets “voluntold” to provide VIP escort detail. It’s basically a glorified, overpaid babysitter assignment. But, he dons the road-guard vest and takes the ribbing from his friends as he goes about his mundane duty. But before the day ends, everything changes for Saunders and the rest of Boston . . . and America is under siege.
There are several different stories being told in Patriots Day, you get a few glimpses into the victim’s perspective, the first responders, the FBI, the police chief, and even the governor of Massachusetts. You also get to see the terrorists as they plan and carry out the devastating attack. I was chilled by the nonchalant attitude of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Wolff) as he calmly goes about his life as if he hasn’t just crippled a nation.
Patriots Day shows the best of America, as the entire community comes together to thwart an outside threat and to help the victims. The city unites to bring the bombers to justice. But, it is a long hunt, and the killers are not done destroying lives.
As the story unfolds, you begin to get a greater understanding of the ground battles, and that is what they are, battles between the police and two terrorists armed to the teeth with pipe bombs. While Dzhokhar’s older brother Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) doesn’t let the punk carry a gun, he is proficient at tossing those pipe bombs and creating devastation right in the suburbs. I was actually reminded of the Green Goblin, as Dzhokhar wantonly, gleefully throws the grenades like he’s playing Call of Duty. In fact his entire demeanor is that of playing at war. Really disturbing to consider.
Also disturbing is how his friends seem to know he is the terrorist but choose to cover for him rather than turn him in to the FBI. They pay a price for protecting the monster.
Boston is a city I have never been to, but it has always been a place I felt drawn to, and while there were many mistakes made on that horrible day, the one thing that will always stick with me is that after the bombs went off, people, Americans, ran towards the blasts to help the victims. Even as I type that, I am getting choked up again.
There is still something to the American spirit that endures all struggles. And, we will endure whatever the cowards throw at us. Also, as I write this, Fort Lauderdale, my hometown, was recently attacked by another coward of the Islamic persuasion. The enemy is at war with us, even if we haven’t grasped that fact yet.
See Patriots Day and be reminded of America’s resolve in the face of evil.