Copyright © 2016 by CBS Films
When two terrorists with Chechen roots set off two home-made explosives in the crowd watching the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 260, police sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) searches for clues to apprehend Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze) while heading the official manhunt is FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) and he is facilitated by Boston police commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) and Watertown police sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J. K. Simmons).
Third venture in, director Peter Berg and star Wahlberg pair up for a rousing retelling of a real-life American tragedy which they successfully captured a few months back about the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Like ‘Deepwater Horizon’, the latest has Berg skillfully placing human connection above action. The various lives introduced are capably downplayed and add the mounting dread of what is to come next.
The docu-drama form is expertly included, inserting a street-level experience which magnifies the tension when the bomb detonates at the finish line and the city goes into a frenzy. The blast is graphic, setting a macabre tone for the rest of the crime procedural. The monstrosity perpetrated is shed through the cold and distant occupants in the Tsarnaev household.
It is their (seeming) isolation from the rest of the community that motivates these brothers into more heinous crimes such as the brutal murder of a young MIT police officer who died defending his weapon & car, carjacking a Chinese student and an all-out strike in Watertown. The carjacking scene in particular deconstructs a momentary look into Dzhokhar and Tamerlan’s motives with conviction delivered in earnestness from the threesome of Wolff, Melikidze and Jimmy O. Yang, the innocent Mercedes-Benz owner.
If you thought ‘Patriots Day’ is shadowing the underrated ‘13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’, the former’s political undercurrent is less overt. Other than an unsettling interrogation of Tamerlan’s defiant wife by an intimidating agent donning a hijab, Berg has chosen to center on the efforts of real-life people who were instrumental in the arrest of the Islamic radicals and the valor of the victims. Could be deeper but it is still a thoughtful tribute to a united and strong Boston.
Rated R for violence, realistically graphic injury images, language throughout and some drug use