Tag Archives: Tobias Schliessler

Boston Strong

Mark Wahlberg leads all-star cast in drama built around 2013 Boston bombings 

041816_PATRIOTSDAY_KB_419.CR2

Patriots Day
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, Melissa Benoist, Alex Wolff & J.K. Simmons
Directed by Peter Berg
R
In theaters Jan. 6, 2017

After escaping an exploding oil rig just a couple of months ago in Deepwater Horizon, Mark Wahlberg is now back on the job as Boston police officer, hobbled with a bad knee and thrust into the middle of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Both Deepwater Horizon, based on the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and Patriots Day were directed by Peter Berg, who also worked with Wahlberg on Lone Survivor, the 2013 true-life military drama about a team of U.S. Navy SEALs on a mission to capture a notorious Taliban leader.

The two Bergs seem to have a thing for real-life action sagas.

An ambitious, sprawling, detailed dramatization of the events around the bombings that killed three people and injured more than 250 others at the 2013 Boston Marathon, Patriots Day takes its title from the Massachusetts state holiday on which the iconic race has been run for more than a century.

Director Berg, aided significantly by the gritty, street-level, you-are-there cinematography of veteran lensman Tobias Schliessler, packs some serious multiplex meat to the factual framework of the widely reported contemporary event, one that received massive media coverage at the time. He creates a gripping, freshly compelling story by first introducing us to a wide variety of characters that we come to care about, each of whom is intricately woven into the narrative tapestry as the movie unfolds, creating a stirring theme of “Boston strong.”

Kevin Bacon, Mark Wahlberg & John Goodman dig into the case.

Kevin Bacon, Mark Wahlberg & John Goodman dig into the case.

Walhberg gets top billing as Boston police Sgt. Tommy Saunders (a composite character based on several real individuals), who becomes key to the investigation as it becomes a citywide manhunt for the suspects. He’s surrounded by a terrific cast in a spectrum of supporting roles, including Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Termo Melikidze) and his younger brother Jahar (Alex Wolff), who carried the homemade, pressure-cooker explosives in their backpacks before leaving them in the crowd close to the marathon’s finish line.

John Goodman plays Boston Police Commission Ed Davis. Kevin Bacon is FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers, who steps in when the bombing is declared an act of terrorism. J.K. Simmons hovers around the edges as Jeffrey Pugliese, the police sergeant in Watertown, outside Boston, until the fleeing suspects finally arrive there to meet their violent Waterloo.

Melissa Benoist gives a chilling performance, far away from her good-girl type as TV’s Supergirl, as Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s white, Boston-born Muslim-convert girlfriend. Khandi Alexander (who played Maya Lewis on TV’s Scandal) is riveting as an “undercover” interrogator.

Other, lesser-known actors portray the movie’s real heroes, like Sean Collier (Jake Picking), the MIT campus policeman who refused to let the terrorists take his service revolver, even after they’d shot him. Jimmy O. Yang (from HBO’s Silicon Valley) plays a young Chinese-immigrant college student whose path fatefully crossed with the bombers after the marathon.

Rachel Broshahan (Rachel Posner on the Netflix series House of Cards) and Christopher O’Shea (Jareth Glover on TV’s Madam Secretary) portray newlywed race spectators who were both seriously injured in the explosions but survived. Their mini-story is one of the movie’s most moving, and bookends its overlay of hope, resilience and community-wide, real-life rebound.

042516_PATRIOTSDAY_KB_568.CR2

Michelle Monaghan

Definitely stay for the epilogue, when you’ll meet some of the real people—including Jessica and Patrick—depicted in the film.

“These images in my head,” Walhberg’s character tells his wife (Michelle Monaghan) in the bombing’s horrific aftermath, “they ain’t goin’ away.” The powerful images in Patriots Day will linger with for with you for a while, too. But so will its bigger, uplifting depiction of a town and its citizens united—healing, tougher than ever and determined to not let the bad guys win—after an almost unthinkable tragedy.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blood & Bullets

Navy SEALs mission goes tragically off course in Afghanistan

5685_FPF_00344RV2

Lone Survivor

Starring Mark Walhberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster

Directed by Peter Berg

R, 121 min.

Director Peter Berg’s bloody, violent Lone Survivor comes by its blood and violence honestly. It’s based on former U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s account of a bloody, violent 2005 mission in Afghanistan from which he emerged as—well, you can probably figure that out from the title, based on Luttrell’s New York Times Bestseller.

Luttrell’s book chronicled his involvement as part of a four-man team tasked with covertly tracking down a Taliban warlord in the remote, rugged Kunar province. But Operation Red Wings was quickly compromised and the SEALs (played by Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) found themselves in a deadly bind, pinned down by Taliban fighters.

Berg, who adapted Luttrell’s book for the screen as well as directed, has made a rip-roaring war movie that literally rips and roars. Gunfire tears ferociously into flesh, clothing and bone; one shoot-out scene, in particular, is a nearly deafening chorus of high-caliber zings, zips, booms and pops as bullets fly and spent shell casings bounce off rocks.

5685_FPF_00265RThe SEALs’ predicament hinges on a decision they make when an Afghan shepherd, two boys and a herd of goats accidentally come across their mountainside surveillance spot. What they do in that decisive moment sets the rest of the movie in fateful motion.

And what rough-and-tumble motion it is, as Wahlberg and his co-stars absorb blows, bullets and shrapnel, break bones, lose body parts, dent skulls and plunge off the mountainside not just once but twice, sliding, slamming and ramming into boulders and tree trunks. Cinematographer Tobias Schliessler shoots the punishing, pummeling violence as if it’s both horrific and saintly, a Passion play of blood, saliva and bodies battered and bullet-riddled to pulp for a higher cause.

Lone SurvivorIt’s a super-macho movie without a single female character, and definitely not for the squeamish—but neither is war, and what it sometimes requires, and that’s the point. A pre-credits slideshow introduces the real servicemen portrayed by the cast, as David Bowie sings “Heroes.”

And you’ll see another photo of someone in the movie who was also a hero, but I won’t spoil it by telling you who. A modern-day Good Samaritan pivotal to the story in the final stretch, he also reminds us that not everyone in a place where we’re at war is an enemy.

Lone Survivor isn’t exactly a cup of Christmas comfort and joy. But this brutally intense, emotionally stirring tribute to America’s fighting spirit has a message that will certainly resonate, like a punch to the gut, with anyone who’d prefer a steaming slab of gung-ho movie sausage to yet another slice of nutty holiday fruitcake.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

Tagged , , , , , ,