Patriot’s Day director Peter Berg and marketers for CBS/Lionsgate are aware of Berg and Mark Wahlberg‘s rep as action-focused propagandists for brawny middle-class Joes who do the heroic, selfless thing under adverse circumstances — Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and now Patriot’s Day. The same rah-rah flick over and over. And they know I wasn’t the only one to complain about an emphasis on domestic bliss in the first two Deepwater trailers with Wahlberg, wifey-wife Kate Hudson and their little daughter in the kitchen.
And yet they’ve begun their first Patriot’s Day teaser with a scene of domestic bliss between Wahlberg’s Tommy Saunders (working-class beat cop who’s basically a composite) and loving wifey-wife Michelle Monaghan. Where’s the cute daughter? Where’s the puppy and the bowl of Cheerios? And then we’re given a brief heroism montage of those brave, selfless Bostonians who stood up to terrorism, etc.
Hey, guys? I have an idea. Feel free to ignore but I just thought I’d share. How about just making a complex Costa-Gavras– or Paul Greengrass-like thriller about what happened in the Boston area between 4.13.13 and 4.19.13? Just make a good film and maybe spare us the hometown sentiments?
From “Complex Thriller or Boston Pep-Rally Flick?,” posted on 7.16:
“To go by descriptions, Patriots Day sounds like a rah-rah procedural about how the fanatical Tsaranaev brothers were captured through the efforts of a few heroic Bostonians — among them an everyman police sergeant (Mark Wahlberg), Boston police commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) and Watertown cop Jeffrey Publiese (J.K. Simmons). But any hack director can make a ‘hooray for our side!’ action drama.
“The key to distinction with fact-based action films is realism, exactitude and complexity. Particularly regarding the villains. The best thrillers never reduce baddie-waddies to stick figures. They always dig in.
“Paul Greengrass‘s United 93 (’06) showed us the intimate behaviors and occasional POV of the Al Qeada bad guys — it even depicted their religious rituals on the morning of 9/11. Fred Zinneman‘s The Day of the Jackal (’73) fully acquainted us, in a neutral way, with Edward Fox‘s would-be assassin of Charles DeGaulle. Costa Gavras‘s Z showed us the backroom plotting and mentality of the rightwing thugs and military authoritarians behind the killing of Yves Montand‘s liberal politician character.
(l to r.) Patriots Day star-producer Mark Wahlberg, director Peter Berg, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans (being portrayed in the film by James Colby) and “good samaritan” Carlos Arredondo, a guy who helped save lives in the immediate aftermath of the 2013 bombing.
“Will the Patriots Day screenplay (written by Matt Charman, Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy) portray the Tsaranaev brothers — Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) and his deceased older brother Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) — with a bit of dimension, texture and motivation? Or will it make them into terrorist bogeymen, the wily pathan, “the other”?
“You have to figure that Benoist wouldn’t sign on unless the character is at least somewhat intriguing and/or meaty. (Russell began dating Tsarnaev while attending Suffolk University from 2007 to 2010. She converted to Islam and started wearing a hijab in 2008. She became pregnant with their child and dropped out of Suffolk in her senior year to marry Tsarnaev on 6.21.10.)
“And yet terms like ‘everyday heroes’ and ‘the strength of the people of Boston’ suggest a large dose of Boston home-town sentiment.
“The movie will be the movie. I’m obviously not talking about that. I’m talking about the official description on the movie’s website. I’m talking about an implied message that says ‘don’t worry, megaplex movie fans — this will be a rah-rah, hot dog-and-mustard Peter Berg movie in the vein of Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon — hooray for the good-hearted, flag-saluting servants of our great city…good fellows with wives and cute kids who stood up to adversity and showed what they were made of.'”