“Patriots Day” (Lionsgate)
By Catholic News Service
Effective but unsparing dramatization of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and its violent aftermath. Director and co-writer Peter Berg approaches these events from multiple perspectives, predominantly that of fictional police Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), who is among the first responders to the chaos unleashed by brothers Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) Tsarnaev. Other strands of the story involve lead FBI investigator Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon), his local counterpart, Ed Davis (John Goodman), and Chinese-born app designer Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang), whom the murderous siblings carjacked and kidnapped.
Berg ratchets up the suspense as authorities scramble to identify and capture the fugitives before they can carry out further attacks. And his script, penned with Matt Cook and Joshua Zetumer, is clear about the need to oppose evil with love and decency. But the bloody carnage caused by the assault is not kept off-screen, nor are viewers shielded from a torrent of tension-induced swearing.
Disturbing and sometimes gruesome images of terrorist mayhem, considerable gore, drug use, a marital bedroom scene, several uses of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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