Patriots Day, the upcoming drama about the 2013 Boston Marathan bombing, is one of many recent films – the second this fall, in fact – in which Peter Berg directs Mark Wahlberg as a blue-collar hero in a fact-based drama about a recent American tragedy. This time, unlike Berg and Wahlberg’s Deepwater Horizon and Lone Survivor, the film is set and filmed in the actor’s hometown of Boston.
In a film about the fact-based event from only three years ago, in which the entire saga played out mostly on live TV, realism and verisimilitude are very important. A new video released by the production, called “Getting It Right,” shows just what the filmmakers are doing to make sure Patriots Day is authentic.
In the video, released by CBS Films, Berg, Wahlberg (also a producer) and others associated with the production pay tribute to the police and other first responders who protected the city on the day of the bombing and participated in the manhunt that captured surviving suspect Dzokhar Tsarneav a few days later.
The three-minute video, which follows an earlier teaser trailer for the film, also shows that many of the police in the movie are played by real-life officers from Boston and surrounding areas, and that numerous actual locations are used, including the home of Sean Collier, the MIT police officer shot and killed during the pursuit. The production even spent time with each of the families of those who died that week. And Wahlberg, the video says, felt a special obligation to do right by his own hometown in making the film, and in getting every little detail right.
There are a lot of elements of Patriots Day that are promising. Of all the real-life American tragedies in recent years, the story is one of the more naturally cinematic, between the bombing, the pursuit, the shootout and eventually the capture. The cast is also impressive, with John Goodman on board as Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Kevin Bacon as the FBI agent in charge of the investigation and The Sopranos’ Johnny Sack, Vincent Curatola, as then-Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Wahlberg’s police character, meanwhile, is a composite of several real officers.
Could Patriots Day veer into cornball territory? That’s a distinct possibility. But there’s no doubt that a story like this, and the people who lived it, are deserving of a major movie treatment. As this video reveals, Wahlberg, Berg, and company set out to do just that, and do it justice.