"Patriot's Day," starring Mark Wahlberg, is the fictionalized retelling of the terrorist bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Share story

“Patriot’s Day” is the fictionalized retelling of the terrorist bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon, featuring Bean-Town native Mark Wahlberg, who plays Sgt. Tommy Saunders, one of the detectives tasked with tracking down the suspects.

Wahlberg, who collaborated with director Peter Berg, is joined by a stellar cast, including Kevin Bacon (as an FBI special agent) and John Goodman (as the police commissioner). The film is getting good reviews for its acting and convincing portrayal of the real-life event and the human toll it claimed.

Here’s what the national critics are saying about this drama/thriller:

John Hartl of the Seattle Times praises the film for its ability to tell a difficult story:

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

April 15, 2013 … Is it too soon for a movie about the terrorist bombing that took place on that date during the Boston Marathon? Should there even be a narrative drama about it? Isn’t it, inevitably, a kind of horror film? Complete with distractingly grisly graphic makeup and special effects?
Too soon? The question lingers, though in a more positive way than you might imagine. For all its rough edges and gruesome touches, “Patriots Day’’ is a heartfelt and ambitious attempt to turn mayhem into something that’s emotionally valid.

Shot and edited in a docudrama style that’s a little less frenetic than is conventional, “Patriots Day” is at its best as a vivid re-creation of the measures and resources needed to conduct investigations of such catastrophic crimes. The police get their backs up slightly when the F.B.I. team led by Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) shows up, and the film is frank in its depiction of what can fall through the cracks as well as what can be accomplished when multiple agencies try to collaborate.

Peter Debruge of Variety says “Patriots Day” keeps its editorializing to a minimum:

Except for the solemn slideshow that closes the film, revealing the real faces of the incident’s victims and heroes, “Patriots Day” keeps its editorializing to a minimum, while making every effort to resist anything that might be labeled as jingoistic propaganda. There are a few mostly understandable exceptions, especially in the reverential score by “The Social Network” duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, which turns sinister whenever the terrorists appear on screen. But “Patriots Day” tries to be fair and balanced — not toward the Tsarnaevs, but in recognizing the responsibility law enforcement faces when responding to such emergencies. In shows like “24,” heroes have the luxury of averting such disasters. “Patriots Day” reveals how tragedy can counter-intuitively bring out the best in everyone.

Kenneth Turan of the LA Times says the movie is a fine tribute to the people of Boston:

An effective, efficient and quite dramatic examination of the events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured 264, “Patriots Day” is a tribute to people who earned it: the investigators and first responders who ensured that a horrible situation did not become even worse.

One of the intriguing ironies of “Patriots Day” (written by Berg & Matt Cook and Joshua Zetumer) is that while much of it tries to be as accurate as possible, Wahlberg’s character, salt-of-the-earth Sgt. Tommy Saunders, is not an actual person but a good-hearted composite of several Boston police officers.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says the film celebrates the incidents of valor in ordinary lives:

As for incidents of valor in ordinary lives, the film celebrates as many as it can. The Chinese app designer, including Dun Meng (a terrific Jimmy O. Yang), who puts his own life at risk to alert the police when he’s carjacked by the Tsarnaevs and Sean Collier (Jake Picking), the MIT campus security guard who refuses to let these creeps grab his gun. Then there’s Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese (the always superb J.K. Simmons), the Watertown cop who participates in a thrillingly-staged standoff with the Tsarnaevs.