The Culture Movies

'Patriots Day': Does Mark Wahlberg's fictional treatment add anything?

'Patriots' stars Mark Wahlberg as a police sergeant who becomes involved in the events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Nothing in the movie rises above the level of a good action thriller.

Mark Wahlberg appears in a scene from 'Patriots Day.'
Karen Ballard/CBS Films & Lionsgate Films/AP
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  • Peter Rainer
    Film critic

The terrorist bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon is given the high-powered treatment by director Peter Berg in “Patriots Day,” starring Mark Wahlberg as a police sergeant whose breezy Marathon Day assignment quickly turns horrendous. The film, which swivels frantically between first responders, survivors, and investigators, has a percussive force, but its best scene, unbearably tense, is a quiet one, when a Chinese app designer (an excellent Jimmy O. Yang) is carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers.

Nothing in this movie rises above the level of a good action thriller, though, and, especially when the final credits roll and you see heartbreaking footage of the actual event, you may wonder if the dramatization of such real-life attacks is more of a detriment than a boon. Grade: B- (Rated Rated R for violence, realistically graphic injury images, language throughout and some drug use.)