Today I saw the new movie Patriot's Day - The story of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the film is earnest, hard-hitting, and realistic in its depiction of the crime as well as the carnage.
This is NOT a film for the faint of heart. The malevolence of the terrorist event is shown in chaotic motion, complete with the mix of the noises when the smoke died down and people began to realize what happened.
Have you ever been in a big accident, or near an explosion, or in a tornado which dances its malevolence near your house? The same thing always happens. During the incident, everything is just a confused jumble, then there is a moment of silence as the people/victims breathe for a minute and come back down to earth. There is always a period of stunned silence before all hell truly does break loose.
In an intense film, these moments were the most shattering. It happened when the victims and the helpers were looking around trying to understand what had just occurred. Many of the victims discovered severed legs or arms, their own or those of their loved ones. The screaming was awful, stirring the viewers with multiple emotions, shock, sadness, anger...That scene was masterfully crafted, though hard to watch.
The worst moment for me came when they discovered the body of the little eight-year-old boy who was killed. He lay sprawled in the street, straddling the curb. They covered his small broken corpse with a white blanket through which the blood soaked. The rest of his family members were injured and taken in the confusion to different hospitals. The FBI insisted his body stay where it was as it was now "evidence." The Boston police on the streets, led by Mark Wahlberg's character protested long and loud at this one, without success. So one of the officers, a member of a mounted patrol by his uniform, stood guard over the small body covered by a bloody blanket. They would show shots of him standing at attention during the investigation at the scene. When they finally allowed the body to be taken to the morgue, the officer stood at attention and saluted with tears flowing down his cheeks until the ambulance disappeared down the street.
It will be a long time before that image leaves my thoughts.
The film shows the action before the day of the bombing, introducing the main characters, including the bombers and goes until the younger brother is taken from the boat in which he hid in a Watertown backyard.
All the performances are tight, realistic portrayals of the people caught in this horrendous act.
There were standout performances by Mark Wahlberg (who also produced this film), as a Boston Police Sergeant who worked the marathon as final punishment for insubordination. He worked the case night and day until it was solved.
J K Simmons, my favorite psychiatrist from the old Law and Order series, portrayed the Chief of the Watertown Police Department
John Goodman (so much slimmer than in his Roseanne days) portrayed the Boston Commissioner of Police.
Kevin Bacon played the war-weary FBI agent in charge of the investigation.
Honestly, there were more than competent performances given by the entire cast.
At the end of the film, they introduced some of the real people played by actors in the film. They showed the Boston Strong movement and how some of the survivors have recovered and gone on to run in the Marathon.
They also showed the one remaining bomber in custody awaiting execution in prison.
A note - I have a history of motion sickness. It's one of the reasons I rarely fly. It's also why I prefer to watch fast moving film footage on my home television rather than a huge screen at the theater. I was really glad toward the end of the movie I had rushed past the concession stand on the way into the theater.
But it did give me an idea on my first thriller manuscript to beef up the climax scene a bit. You know how authors are...always watching for inspiration.
Take care and enjoy some pop culture. It's a nice change from politics!
Until next time...