Director Peter Berg started out in a rough spot with some of his first films not being well-received, including 2012’s “Battleship” and 2008’s “Hancock.” However, he’s finally found his footing in directing biopics about recent events when he directed 2013’s “Lone Survivor.” With his release of 2016’s “Deepwater Horizon,” he is starting to become one of the finest directors working today. His latest release, “Patriots Day,” just further shows the amount of talent he has.
“Patriots Day” revolves around the Boston Marathon bombing that occurred in 2013. The film shows everything that happened from the incident itself to the manhunt for the two bombers that were responsible for the attack. The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Boston Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders, where he is joined by a supporting cast including John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, and Kevin Bacon.
The reason Peter Berg is an incredible director is because of the way he takes real-life disasters and puts it on the big-screen. Like in “Lone Survivor” and “Deepwater Horizon,” Berg is able to place the audience right in the middle of the disaster itself and make it feel as though the audience is experiencing the traumatizing event.
He is also able to perfectly depict, albeit pretty violently, the actual event. The film’s first few trailers were great because they didn’t show viewers the actual explosions. All they show are what happened before and after. Thanks to this marketing strategy, the moment those bombs go off is very effective. And what Peter Berg does so well is insert real footage of the actual event into the scene, making it much more effective. The whole scene, both during and after the explosions, is haunting, terrifying, and hard to watch overall. Viewers simply won’t be ready for what comes.
Wahlberg and the rest of the cast are right in the middle of the conflict and they all play their roles effectively, with Wahlberg being the man who the audience will connect and relate to the most. He, along with Goodman, Bacon, and the rest of the cast don’t overplay their roles and fit perfectly in them, making the viewers believe they are those characters and not actors.
Another highlight of the film are the terrorists themselves, both of which are given more humanizing storylines that revolves around their relationship to one another and the conflicts that both face, making them more human than just simply monsters.
While Peter Berg is able to expertly depict the violent and horrific side of a tragedy, he is also capable of presenting the heroic and hopeful side as well. The film is ultimately about hope and coming together in times of tragedy and horror. If nothing else, the movie shows that even after a horrific disaster like the Boston Marathon bombing, people will never give up hope and will come together to stay strong.
Overall, “Patriots Day” is another example of why Peter Berg is growing in both talent and reputation. The film is a perfect depiction of both the horrors of the incident and the hope it inspired in so many people. It pays respect to the people who saved so many lives and the people who lost theirs. It can certainly be a hard movie to watch, especially during the actual bombing. But this movie will bring hope in people’s ability to stand with one another, no matter what happens.