Patriots Day Blu-ray Review

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The Movie: 7.8/10
We love to tell stories. Humans learn from tales of bravery and heroes and hard times and triumph. Hollywood movies are just more stories to tell each other. When one is all fiction it tells us the possibilities of what people (or animals or aliens or other creatures) are capable of when put the test in life. Stories that are based on true events inform us about real life difficulties that someone has overcome and hopefully we are inspired. The thing about it is this, when Hollywood tells us a “true” story it seems to be against the rules to just tell us the whole truth. Patriots Day is an excellent movie. It’s riveting and compelling and tragic and it stirs something inside because it’s based on a real event, the Boston Marathon bombing a few years ago.

“Based on a true story” is the phrase to look out for when you watch a movie. We all know the Boston bombing happened, and we know what we know because of the news and court cases and whatever information we have had through the years. We don’t know what it was like or the intimate conversations that were had between the people involved. The events are told in a really well paced and dramatic way, but not over the top, which I appreciate. The performances are all good, of course. The problem I have with the movie is that it has created fictional characters, in fact our leading man, to thread the events of the story together. They also create other fictional characters or relationships with real life people to add that Hollywood touch, which I find disrespectful and it doesn’t make the movie better.

The action is well done, without the over the top stuff that could have made it seem inappropriate. The lead up to the actual bombing has us watching in on some of the victims and the spineless cowards who did it. Yes, I have a strong position on these two men. Cowards, hate filled, vile creatures who take the opportunity to injure and kill people who are just simply running a race to accomplish something in their own lives. The way the script is written is actually quite good about not steering us to any kind of hyperbolic hatred for the brothers who planted the bombs. Instead it lets us see just how boring and monotonous they really were, their choices to hurt people and to make some kind of bullshit statement came to them as easily and as mundanely as every other daily activity we all have swirling in our own lives. That’s the best thing about this movie. It lets you sit back and think about the people behind terrorist acts. They are not these giant creatures, monsters, overtly oozing evil. They look and appear to be just like your neighbor, or like you, living your life. The darkness and hate lurk behind, and we can’t blame anyone but the individuals who commit the violence. It’s an invisible menace, sadly.

Overall the movie is powerful and emotional, of course. It is let down by the fictional character that Wahlberg plays, not because of him but because there was no need to add a “Kate and Leo from Titanic” element. It truly tells us about how we can overcome tragedy and face down the cowards who plague our species. It sounds cheesy but there is always more good than bad in humans and in the world.

Features: 8/10

  • The Boston Strong: Stories Of Courage (22 Minutes) – A look at some real life Bostonians who survived the tragic event.
  • The Boston Bond: Recounting The Tale (22 Minutes) – More of an EPK style featurette that looks at Boston and how the cast and crew filmed in the location.
  • The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes Stories (20 Minutes) – Peter Berg looks at the real heroes and what inspiration he took from that to make the film.
  • The Cast Remembers (5 Minutes) – A look at several members of the cast retelling what they were doing the day the Bombing happened.
  • Actors Meet Their Real Life Counterparts (19 Minutes) – John Goodman meets Ed Davis and Jimmy O Yang meets Dun Meng for a sit down interview.
  • Researching The Day (11 Minutes) – Another EPK style featurette looking at what it took to get the look and the feel of the movie right.
  • UV Digital Copy

Cover Art: 8/10
It’s a great cover image. I would have it as a mini poster in our house. It represents more than the movie, which is a bonus.

Audio & Video:8/10
Patriots day is presented with a 1080P AVC encoded transfer in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This is a nice sharp-looking film with some great fine detail and black levels. Most of the footage used is HD but sometimes Peter Berg cuts to real life surveillance footage of the day which looks noticeably softer. I saw no macroblocking or ringing in the entire presentation.

The DTS-X mix used here is impressive and subtle at times. The highlight of the movie is the two explosions that punctuate the Boston marathon. This is some superb stuff and really gives the feeling of being at the event. Dialog is localised and centered and always easy to understand.

Overall Score 7.8/10