“Patriots Day”

A Look at the Movies

Rated R

2 hours 10 minutes

Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Was it really necessary for Mark Wahlberg to appear in almost every scene of “Patriots Day”, for his symbolic salute to Boston’s men in blue?

Wahlberg should have stepped back and trusted director Peter Berg to do what Berg does best, making an exceptional manhunt thriller.

Every time you turn around, there’s Berg eating up screen time. His fictional character does nothing to advance this otherwise gripping manhunt thriller.

Other familiar performers especially Kevin Bacon and John Goodman are much more attuned to the needs of this relentless documentary style drama, agonizing over the timing of releasing the pictures of the terrorist bombers. But it’s mostly when Wahlberg lays low and takes a breather that “Patriots Day” comes into its own as a blistering, suspense laden chronicle of law enforcement doing its job.

Who needs symbolism when there’s so much real life heroism in the ranks of law enforcement?

Director Peter Berg was in no mood to soft pedal the atrocities committed by fanatics.

Now just because Mark Wahlberg got carried away, laying it on too thick celebrating his fellow Bostonians, is no reason not to appreciate “Patriots Day” for its more universal appeal as a brilliantly made investigative adventure that easily earns 3 stars.

Peter Berg is among the best at what he does.