The 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon is chronicled through the experiences of a Boston police officer (Mark Wahlberg). Also stars Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, and J.K. Simmons.
Directed by Peter Berg.
Patriot's Day could have easily drifted into crass sentimentalism in its recounting of the April 15, 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon. Instead, director Peter Berg deftly weaves multiple storylines into one riveting narrative. The result is a harrowing yet inspiring tale of the determination and spirit of the people of Boston.
Berg smartly focuses the story by telling it through the eyes of Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Walhberg), who is a fictional character. By making Saunders the point of personal reference, the viewers are better able to relate to the story on a personal level. Nearly every other character in the film is a real-life person, and their stories are told in a matter-of-fact, documentary style that the film needed to succeed.
Thankfully, Berg (who was also one of the screenwriters along with Matt Cook and Joshua Zetumer) does not take much artistic license with the events as shown. It not only makes the film reference material for those who want to learn the story behind the bombing, it honors those who lived through and were lost in those events.
Patriot's Day features a mix of well-known actors and character actors. Using recognizable actors can be a bit of a distraction, because you know you aren't watching Ed Davis, Boston police commissioner - you're watching John Goodman laying the role. Patriot's Day, however, manages to create just the right atmosphere, so the viewer buys into the roles enough to tell the story. It also helps that all involved are excellent in their roles.
The most riveting aspect of the film is the retelling of the shootout between Watertown police and the Tsarnaev brothers. It is brutal and intense, and is recreated in an amazing fashion.
The film ends in the same matter-of-fact fashion, wrapping up the storylines and providing the real-life connections that give the viewers closure. Patriot's Day is visceral, affecting, and affirming.
Patriot's Day is the first 4K Ultra HD disc I have ever reviewed. I was looking forward to doing so, as I was impressed with the sampling of 4K video that I had seen.
I viewed the disc on a 65" Samsung 4K set, and the viewing experience was jaw-dropping. The difference in resolution and clarity is significant, and difficult to describe to someone who has not seen it. There is, however, a depth and realism in the image that you might not realize was possible before. There is still that "film" feel that you want, with the separation from video that I find a bit distracting. 4K, however, is the kind of experience you don't want to go back from. With so many films hitting home video in 4K, you won't have to choose. Lionsgate did a phenomenal job with this video transfer and utilizing the full possibilities of 4K resolution.
The audio includes a DTS X soundtrack, which I had never fully experienced in a home viewing. There is a distinct improvement in the surround effect over DTS HDMA, and a distinct crispness to the audio. Most home viewers may not be able to tell or appreciate the upgrade, but with a good system and outstanding speakers, audiophile will hear the difference.
The Patriot's Day extras provide exactly what you want to see with a film based on actual events. The special features bridge the gap between the film and real life, with behind-the-scenes looks and input from the people who experienced the events.
The extras included on the disc are as follows.
*“Boston Strong: True Stories of Courage” Vignettes. These shorts focus on three individuals with personal connections to the bombing - Dr. Jeffrey Kalish, Dun Meng, and Sgt. Jeff Pugliese. Each reflects on the bombing and its aftermath. They are a must-watch. Running time: 21:34
*“The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale” Featurette. The cast and crew discuss their experiences working on the film, and with shooting in the city of Boston and the surrounding area. Some of the real-life people featured in the film also appear. It is a great mini-documentary. Running time: 21:43
*“The Cast Remembers” Featurette. Members of the cast, including Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, and Michelle Monaghan discuss their feelings on the Boston Marathon bombing. Running time: 5:51
*Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts: A 2-Part Series: "John Goodman and Ed Davis" and "Jimmy O. Yang and Dun Meng." The actors and their real-life counterparts sit down and talk together about their experiences. It is an entertaining watch, you'll wish you could sit down for a beer with John Goodman. Running time: 18:13
*“Researching the Day” Featurette. The cast and crew discuss the filmmakers' attention to detail in telling the story accurately and respectfully. Running time: 11:22
*Digital Copy. An ultraviolet copy of the film, which also includes iTunes compatibility, is included.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Patriot's Day is a riveting must-watch
Told in a matter-of-fact, documentary style, Peter Berg's Patriot's Day is an outstanding film and a fitting tribute to the events of that tragic day. It is an absolute must-see.
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Running Time: 133 minutes
Rating: R (for Violence, Realistically Graphic Injury Images, Language Throughout and Some Drug Use)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Video: 2160p Ultra High Definition (4k Disc), 1080p High Definition (Blu-ray)
Audio: English DTS:X AudioTM, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening, DTS Headphone XTM
Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH, French SDH
Special Features: “Boston Strong: True Stories of Courage” Vignettes; “The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale” Featurette; “The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes’ Stories” Featurette; “The Cast Remembers” Featurette; Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts: A 2-Part Series: "John Goodman and Ed Davis" and "Jimmy O. Yang and Dun Meng;" “Researching the Day” Featurette; Digital copy.