The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.
1080p, DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, 2.39:1 Aspect Ratio
2016, Rated R, 2 hours, 13 minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan
Directed by: Peter Berg
Patriots Day tells the story of the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt primarily from the point of view of Boston police officer Tommy Saunders. Concluding his time in the “penalty box”, Tommy’s last assignment before getting back to his usual beat is to patrol the end of the Boston Marathon parade route. Becoming anything but regular patrol, the assignment proves Tommy’s meddle and courage as he quickly takes charge at the scene and pushes hard to find the perpetrators. Though the story is primarily focused on Tommy, the film purposefully shifts to feature a few of the particularly noteworthy stories of other people whose lives were irrevocably changed by the event. Those include Patrick Downes and Jessica Kinsky, the couple who both had to have legs amputated after the blast, Steve Woolfenden and his young child Leo, and officer Sean Collier, who was gunned down in his car by the perpetrators of the bombing. Additionally, there is a focus on Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese, the Watertown, MA officer who hunted down the bombers, and FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, who led the FBI investigation, and Commissioner Ed Davis of the Boston Police Department.
The movie itself, while obviously a dramatization of the actual events, follows the real story very closely. It endeavors to put the viewer in the heat of the events. Throughout the film the time is stated as a function of how long since or before the actual bombing. The effect is a timeline that feels continuous since the moment the movie begins until the perpetrators were caught. Indeed, the outstanding musical score was integral in building and maintaining the suspense and conveyed the constant unrest felt by everyone. I can’t stress that point enough – how vital the score was to the effectiveness of the film. In the moments of chaos after the explosions, the natural sounds fade and the grating sound of the score rises, almost as if the viewer has been deafened by the blast itself.
At the conclusion of the story, the film moves into a semi-documentary epilogue in which we hear from the real-life people portrayed in the film. Beginning with Big Papi himself (David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox), who famously gave a stirring speech at a home Red Sox game shortly after the tragedy occurred, we visit each of the victims and see what became of them in the time afterwards. It really conveyed that the movie was dedicated to them and the thousands of others affected. I appreciated the approach and thought it was really important to convey the “Boston Strong” attitude that carried them through.
Photo by: Kevork O Djansezian/Getty Images
The Blu-Ray presentation of Patriots Day is fantastic on all fronts. The 2.39:1 transfer looked crisp. From a strictly technical perspective, interspersing real archival video footage allows the viewer to see just how good the film itself looks in comparison. There are plenty of dark scenes as much of the manhunt takes place at night outside, and they came through wonderfully. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack likewise was very well done. The shootout scenes were chilling, partly because of the bullets the viewer hears whizzing around them from both directions. As mentioned previously, the unsettling score (at times) is a key to the overall feeling of the film, and the mix is terrific. Overall, this was a very well done Blu-Ray disc.
- Boston Strong: 3 True Stories of Courage
- The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale
- The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes’ Stories
- The Cast Remembers
- Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts: A 2-Part Series
- Researching the Day – Lionsgate