That’s the synopsis from the Patriots Day website, which offers more details about the upcoming film starring Mark Wahlberg, that chronicles the events of the Boston Marathon bombing. Here’s the first official trailer, and my thoughts after the jump.
If you’re like me, and you’re a native to the greater Boston area, you’re probably numb right now. The somber, mournful rendition of “America the Beautiful” playing in the backgrounds enough to get me choked up about a series of events that I’m not sure I was ready to relive just yet. I’ve still got my yellow and blue ribbon with the Boston Police badge on the back of my car that says “Boston Strong”. I can still remember my parents’ frantic phone calls to me as I worked just across the river in Cambridge to tell me the news. And I’ll never forget how I felt that day.
When this movie first got announced in March of 2015, I have to be honest – I was not thrilled about it. My first thoughts? Shame on Mark Wahlberg, shame on Lionsgate films, and shame on the directors for cashing in on one of the worst disasters in American history. I didn’t even want to watch the trailer, I was ready to boycott this flick altogether, but afterwards – I’m glad I ended up caving and giving the trailer a chance.
If you – or someone you know – was present during the attacks, you have every right to be pissed about this. Hell, you can be mad about anything you want – it’s what makes this country so great. But one way or another, you had to know this was coming. Every other big news headline or tragedy in the world gets a film adaptation at some point – so the most we can hope for is that the creators of the film do right by the victims and their families by telling their stories the right way, without any Hollywood fluff bullshit.
As far as the argument that this movie won’t be benefiting the victims of this tragedy in any way, I am happy to report that the filmmakers have started The Patriots Day Charity Challenge, which is a nonprofit initiative that will challenge 501(c)3 charities in the Greater Boston area who have honored or provided services for the first responders, medical professionals and survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing to raise money for their respective causes. The charity that raises the most money during the challenge will win $100,000.00 in prize money for their charity, provided by the Patriots Day filmmaking team. That’s pretty amazing.
Not only is Patriots Day based off of firsthand accounts from folks who lived through it, it also borrows perspective from 60 Minutes’ special on the attacks, as well as the book “Boston Strong”, which was co-written by Dave Wedge of the Boston Herald. This isn’t just a couple of big-shot Hollywood guys sitting at a boardroom saying to each other: “How can we cash-in as much money as possible on this movie?”, this looks like it has the heart and soul of the people of Boston woven into each frame, and I hope to god the entirety of the movie carries the same tone. You knew this was gonna be Mark Wahlberg in the starring role. You knew this movie was coming, and you know its going to make you uncomfortable to watch if you decide to go see it in theaters. But the thing is, it’s supposed to make you uncomfortable. It’s a tragedy, but people want this story told.
People around the world will feel the same day we as Bostonians did on that day, and the days following, as we bit our nails in front of our television screens while one of the most elaborate manhunts in American history was conducted. We shouted and cried when Terrorist #2 got taken into custody. We checked in on each other, and called our parents, and grabbed the nearest stranger to us and hugged them – partly because we needed it – and partly because we knew they needed it.
Patriots Day has made the message loud and clear that this movie is going to be a celebration of the resilience and strength of Boston and its surrounding communities. It will honor the fallen, pay homage to the brave first responders, and tell the story through the eyes of the men and women that lived through it. And if they can do all of that right – then this is going to be one hell of a film.
What do you think about the trailer for Patriots Day? Let us know on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames.