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Sad. Real. Heartache. Anger… those are the words to describe Patriots Day. The film, starring Mark Whalberg, is the real story of the Boston massacre in 2013.

For those of us not living in Boston or New York at the time of the marathon massacre, this film is an eye-opener of what went down during the massacre and the fateful days after.

The story isn’t just about the victims and police involved in the marathon, but outsiders living their lives until they find themselves entangled in the shootings aftermath.

Boston street cop, Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese of Watertown (J. K. Simmons), M.I.T.–assigned police officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking), and FBI agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) are just some of the heroic characters throughout the film.

The breakout stars of the film, however, are the bombers Chechen-immigrant Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff), and Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang), whose Mercedes-Benz gets car-jacked by the brothers while they’re on the run after having committed the bombing. You can’t help but feel sorry for Dun, who’s a simple bystander in the wrong place in the wrong time…. with only 5 of us in the theatre we were yelling out at the screen “run run run!” when he finally escapes the brothers.

Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Hancock, Battlefield) did a great job casting the brothers, who look very close to the actual real life “white hat” and “black hat”, as police and FBI were calling them before they were identified. You hated them with every bone of their body and were extremely happy when they were both caught.

This is Berg‘s fourth film with Wahlberg, who once again authentically portrays a working-man type. And who else could portray a proud Boston cop but Marky Marky? But he’s no ordinary cop. He recently was put on probation and this is his first assignment back on the job. Welcome back?

Audiences can sympathize with Saunders, as he’s got a hurt knee and a bit of a drinking problem. He even puts his own wife (Michelle Monaghan) in danger when he asks her to bring down his larger knee brace- a simple request at the time, but knowing what was going to go down, you can’t help but think, “noooooooo.”

The movie brought to light the aftermath of the bombings for those who weren’t on the East Coast at the time… the shooting of Collier, the capture of Dun, and the shootout between the brothers and the police/FBI, which resulted in the capture and death of Tamerlan.

You are left leaving the theatre with many questions…. WHY was there no security near the sidelines of the marathon, where the bombing she took place, WHY were backpacks allowed into the sidelines and WHY could anyone make their way through? (Especially after September 11), WHY wasn’t the FBI looking into Tamerlan, who was on a watchlist? (He also beat up his girlfriend in the past), WHY did the brothers take action after living in the U.S for 11 years?

Patriots Day is a must see for all Americans. Not the best film to see maybe while traveling for the holidays, however.

5/5 stars

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