Wahlberg and Berg team up for Patriots Day to portray the true story of one of America’s worst terrorist attacks.

Patriots Day paint a vivid portrait of an event no one will forget. A morning just like any other, a marathon that occurs every year. Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) is a policeman who was suspended, so now he does mundane tasks like routine drug busts and boring ones like working the Boston Marathon finish line. It’s 2013 and running enthusiasts are up early stretching, warming up, and downing lots of coffee to run their hearts out. Little do Saunders or the multitude of joggers know that this year a deadly terrorist attack has been planned. Cut to a couple of hours into the marathon and bombs begin to explode. It’s a terrifying scene brought to life in a near real-time way, and from here on out Patriots Day is an edge of your seat thriller that is all too real.

The bombing killed three people and injured hundreds. Seconds after the attack, a huge investigation gets pulled together to track down the people responsible. Patriots Day begins with many different narratives, focusing on the key people in the case including the detectives, victims, and killers. You see a young couple getting ready to run, Saunders and his wife (Michelle Monaghan) fight, a college student is shown at Northwestern (Jimmy O. Yang), police sergeant Pugliese (J. K. Simmons), and Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff) and Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) putting together their final plans in the most depressing dark apartment you’ve ever seen. In fact, the brothers had other plans to attack that get foiled. The story follows the brother’s attacks, the FBI and police investigation, and Saunders uninteresting personal story. Once the investigation begins it’s an edge of your seat mystery, providing surprises not many know about from reading the headlines.

Mark Wahlberg in Patriots Day © 2016 CBS Films Inc. and Lionsgate Films

Mark Wahlberg in Patriots Day © 2016 CBS Films Inc. and Lionsgate Films

Patriot’s Day is an ensemble piece led by Wahlberg. As Saunders, Wahlberg is great as an action lead, but it’s a little disappointing that the screenwriters chose to go with a fictional character. With the hundreds of real stories available it’s a big strange to pick a fictional one, a rather cliche one at that, mixed in with many interesting true life ones. Nevertheless, Wahlberg is an A-list star from Boston and he fits in nicely. For as great as Wahlberg is as the star, the film really belongs to the fantastic supporting cast. Wolff is eerily creepy as the film’s villain and Themo Melikidze is ice cold. His wife (Melissa Benoist) is equally scary in her silence as she refuses to talk or give information (she still hasn’t to this day). Simmons is perfect as the small town cop who has to tackle one of the suspects, and Jimmy O. Yang steals every scene he is in as the Northwestern student who dials 9-1-1. Kevin Bacon is great as always, and Michelle Monaghan has precious few scenes as Saunder’s wife in a throwaway role.

This is Peter Berg’s and Mark Wahlberg’s third time working together after 2013’s Lone Survivor and 2016’s Deepwater Horizon, both based on true stories with Wahlberg as the hero. This is perhaps Berg’s best directed film. He tells the story from the beginning of the bombing to the four day investigation in a fast, quick pace touching on several different story lines throughout. The editing between different points of view and news footage is extremely well done as is Trent Rezone’s hypnotic score.

Patriot’s Day closes with footage showing the real people involved in the bombing. It hits close to home, as the bombing only happened a little over three years ago. Saunders and his wife almost belong in another movie, but Wahlberg is a solid leading hero. The supporting cast ultimately elevates Patriot’s Day to be a truly impactful biopic film that is heart pounding. Much like Boston is known to be such a strong community, Patriot’s Day is a movie with a strong cast of characters that show a wide range of emotion during one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in recent history.