Patriots Day benefits from a robust, concentrated timeline and sheer bat-out-of-hell pacing.
Patriots Day may strike some as unwelcome fuel on a smoldering political fire, but it doesn't seem intended as such. Its only goal is to provide the nail-biting tension and visceral thrills of an action-blockbuster, and it succeeds.
Berg's unquestioning faith in law and order could have used, well, a little questioning. But this is a a raw, riveting, emotionally wrenching docudrama from Peter Berg and producer-star Mark Wahlberg.
Berg and company have recreated familiar events in a gripping and immediate narrative.
At best, it's unnecessary. At worst, it's vaguely insulting.
Balancing the perspectives of perpetrators, policemen and victims with wiry tension and tender human interest, it's not entirely the rah-rah flag-waving exercise the title promises.
It works so hard to evoke a sense of teary patriotism it leaves behind a grimy feeling.
The best thing about Patriots Day is that it bespeaks cherished values without framing them as messages.
The story can't help but be stirring, but director Peter Berg's spare, flag-waving ode to Beantown's beating heart frequently comes across as more dutiful than dramatic.