PATRIOTS DAY

Cert 15 130mins Stars 4

Mark Wahlberg teams up with director Peter Berg to deliver a third example of their highly effective brand of real life, patriotic blue-collar heroism.

They’ve fought in Afghanistan in 2013’s Lone Survivor, and survived exploding oil rigs in last year’s Deepwater Horizon. Now the Boston Marathon terror attack of April 15, 2013, acts as the starting pistol for this tense action thriller.

Limbs and lives are shredded in when two homemade bombs are detonated in thirteen  seconds, just yards from the finishing line. It was the worst act of terrorism on US soil since the 911 Twin Tower attack in 2001.

The re-staging of the carnage and chaos is harrowingly effectively and filmed in a documentary style. It’s never sensationalist and leaves us in no doubt as to the scale of the human damage.

This local tragedy becomes a national emergency when the two brothers responsible head to New York, to set off more bombs, kidnapping and killing along the way.

With the exception of Mark Wahlberg’s character, all the main players are based on real life individuals. The star plays Tommy Saunders, an amalgam of real police officers involved in the pursuit of the of the terrorists. Though he’s an actor of limited range, Wahlberg once again excels in a role which riffs on his tough yet tender persona.

John Goodman and Kevin Bacon appear as a police chief and a FBI investigator.

Despite the male-heavy narrative, Melissa Benoist and Khandi Alexander are superb in a single scene showdown, where a suspects wife is interrogated by a female FBI agent.

Patriots Day was created with the involvement of those who were injured and so can be enjoyed without a sense of exploitation. Exciting, violent and sensitive to the  many who suffered, it is a rousing hymn to duty, family and the community spirit of the city under seige.

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