Making a movie about a tragedy that occurred on American soil is always a tough challenge for an artist. That difficulty becomes even more profound when the tragedy unfolded in your hometown. As it turns out, that's something that Michael Beach had to contend with while portraying Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in Peter Berg's Patriots Day. I recently had the chance to chat with Beach about the process, and the Boston native opened up about the difficulty (and the pride) that went into it. The actor explained:
It makes me proud to be from Boston. It makes me proud to know that that's the foundation that I come from. When I was growing up in the sixties and seventies, Boston was a racially charged city and bussing was going on so it wasn't that great for the people of my neighborhood, but I think that Boston has grown so much and it has become a stronger community, and hopefully it's like a microcosm for the country, particularly with what's going on nowadays that hopefully you can overcome that. That a strong community just benefits everyone in that community. That's what the film is about.... It's that love and a sense of community or pride will always beat back hate.
The production of Patriots Day represented a homecoming for Michael Beach -- just as it did for the film's star Mark Wahlberg. Having grown up as a Boston local during the 1960s and 1970s, the actor has a deeper knowledge of the city that does beyond the mere ability to find it on a map. Over the course of his life, he has watched the city evolve and grow into a much more diverse and accepting place, and that evolution shines through in Patriots Day's story. The city's melting pot qualities factored heavily into the story, and Peter Berg never shied away from showing how an incredibly diverse ensemble of Americans played key roles in that deadly week.
Patriots Day does a phenomenal job of cutting to that thematic core over the course of its story. Although Mark Wahlberg mainly headlines the film, it takes the time to properly showcase the contributions made by a wide variety of people coming from all walks of life. From doctors to law enforcement officials to ordinary Bostonians just trying to do the right thing, the film showcases how a single city can become a cohesive unit in the face of one terrible act. That's something this country needs right now. It's a beautiful way to frame a terrible moment in American history, and audiences have already responded quite well; the film currently holds a 79% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes following its release in select cities, and CinemaBlend gave it an excellent 4/5 star review as well.
As always, CinemaBlend will bring you up to date information regarding all of your most highly anticipated movies as more details become available to us. Patriots Day opens in theaters all over the country on January 13, so make sure to check it out!
Check out a harrowing trailer for Patriots Day on the next page for a closer look at Peter Berg's chilling true story of American heroism.