Rated R
130 Minutes
Released January 13

Recently many films about heroes have been released, usually about heroes whose power and courage lift them high above the crowd. Patriots Day is a film about people with that kind of valor. However in this film they are everyday heroes, the people of Boston – the friends and neighbors who supported one another after the horrific bombing at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The film tells a straightforward re-enactment style narrative of the events before and after the bombs went off.

Although the two brothers who perpetrated the attack were by no means of high intelligence, they were able to bring a whole city to its knees. What they had not planned on was the strength and resolution of the citizens that followed their shocking perpetrations. In the end their actions created “Boston Strong”, a convergence of the residents of Boston to prevent further acts of terrorism.

Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J K Simmons, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman and Alex Wolff are a solid ensemble cast who represent the players in this true story. Melissa Benoist (“Supergirl”) has a haunting cameo as Katherine Russell, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife. The movie gives you the feeling that you are witnessing the tragedy all over again, though from behind the scenes this time. The frightening aspect is that the two Tsarnaev brothers were able to inflict so much terror upon a city and country. Watching the details unfold we see how sheer chaos is gradually pulled into order by everyday citizens who work doggedly to piece together the roots of the terrorist act. This chaos is very honestly portrayed in the film, as is the exceptionally tense emotion underscoring the actions of the police as they do their best to work together effectively.

We cannot entirely prevent such actions on the part of our enemies. The tumultuous scenes shown in Patriots Day have a frightening impact on our sense of a day-to-day normalcy of life, as all control was lost for a time during these events.

What we have to ask ourselves is not what makes us patriots. We know the answer to that question. We know we have honest, brave, dedicated citizens who will protect our way of life. What we need to explore is the minds of our enemies and how they arrived at their vision of their world, in order to begin the small steps to win the fight against those who would terrorize us. War is a competition, one with life and death stakes. If terrorist attacks were football or basketball games, we would review video of past games to see what gives the opposing teams their strengths and weaknesses – what makes them tick. That question we need to be asking ourselves is how can we understand the influences that create the thought processes of our enemy. Only then will we get a handle on winning. Patriots Day is a piece of educational “game video” towards that goal.


Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com