Being born and raised in the city of the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as having a friend who lost her leg because of that act of terror, I was apprehensive when it was first announced that a movie was going to made about the bombing and its aftermath. I didn't want a catastrophic event being turned into a movie specifically to generate money. Would it be nothing more than a Hollywood action-thriller cash grab? Would the story be properly told? And, more importantly, would the production take the feelings of the victims into consideration?
But when I found out that Mark Wahlberg would be producing, my fears were calmed. This hometown boy loves his city of Boston and would do his absolute best to make the movie not only accurate, but tasteful. Patriots Day was made with not only the heart and soul of the victims in mind, but it was also made with the soul of Boston itself.
First off, money was spent making #PatriotsDay, so obviously the studio has to at least make back the $50 million budget. A bland movie was never going to work. There were some overdramatized scenes, and there was also well-timed levity between all the drama and emotional, overwrought moments. But those lighter moments were discerning. The marathon bombing scene didn't resemble a Michael Bay explosion. No ridiculous slow-motion, dramatic pan-overs to the victims' faces. The scene showed the gruesome reality of what happened that horrible day. People died. People were maimed.
Wahlberg revealed that when he was first approached to do the movie, he turned it down. He said he knew that either way the movie was going to be made, and eventually he felt a responsibility to make sure it was done right:
"I saw how strong my community was and how resilient we were and how we came together."
This strength of community, plus the passion of not just #Wahlberg but the creative team behind the film, are just two of the reasons why this movie was so well crafted. The team even worked with then-newlywed bombing survivors Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes to make sure the scenes was correct. The feelings of the community was also very much taken into consideration; if one person had an issue with filming in that location, filming on that site was scrapped.
This movie also deserves praise for telling the story of one unsung hero in particular: Dun "Danny" Meng. Following the marathon, he risked his life to escape the clutches of his kidnappers, the domestic terrorists who planted the bombs. Without the information that Meng provided to police after his escape, it is very likely that the two attackers would have gone on to commit another horrible act. If not for Meng, the two would have allegedly headed to New York's Times Square to plant more bombs.
If I had to describe this movie in one word, it would be passionate. The writers were passionate about getting the movie right. They were passionate about communicating the message of love and bravery conquering all. And they were passionate about making sure that all the victims involved were handled with sensitivity and respect. There were moments in the film that you'd have to be made of stone to not be affected by emotionally. I foresee Patriots Day making a lot of noise come awards season.
Make sure to catch Patriots Day in theaters January 13, 2017.