Patriots Day is a tough movie to watch when we consider the real life pain it depicts. The film tackles so many horrific acts that took place incredibly recently on American soil that the production needed to approach every sequence with a delicate touch. I recently had the opportunity to ask Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg about filming the infamous Watertown shootout, and they revealed that they didn't actually film the sequence in Watertown in order to respect the wishes of a single resident. Wahlberg explained:
Just to understand how sensitive Pete is to the community and the people of Watertown, Boston, and Massachusetts as a whole, they surveyed 200 people to see whether or not they wanted the movie to be shot in Watertown. 199 said 'yes.' One person said 'no' and Pete said, 'Well, that's more than enough to take it to another town.' Because he didn't want to open any of those wounds and re-traumatize people. It was a major gunfight. These guys had a lot of firepower, and a lot of artillery with the pipe bombs and pressure cookers and it's a very, very quiet town.
It's not hard to understand why Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg wanted to approach this situation as gently as possible. The Boston Marathon bombing and Watertown shootout are still incredibly fresh in the memories of Massachusetts' citizens. To film any of these sequences against the wishes of the locals would be in poor taste and dishonor the memories of those who perished. By working with the locals and honoring their wishes, Berg managed to direct a movie that feels incredibly respectful of the events that transpired in April 2013.
Slowly but surely, it's beginning to look like Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg have knocked it out of the park once again. Patriots Day has thus far generated strong critical buzz, and it seems like an incredibly faithful and respectful follow-up to their other true stories like Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon. At this point it's not entirely clear what makes them such a strong partnership when it comes to these emotionally wrenching true stories, but I have a feeling that maintaining a high level of respect has something to do with it.
Patriots Day is in theaters, so make sure to check it out!