- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2017

Actor Mark Wahlberg teamed up with his favorite director Peter Berg to deliver a well-received movie last year about an infamous terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Now available in the ultra high-definition format, Patriots Day (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, rated R, 133 minutes, 2.40:1 aspect ratio, $42.99) is a heartfelt tribute to real-life heroes and a thrilling expose about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent manhunt to find the murderous brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev behind the cowardly act.

The docudrama features Mr. Wahlberg as Sgt. Tommy Saunders, a character created as a composite of members of the Boston police force.

He appears throughout the ordeal acting as the audience’s emotional barometer as the film chronicles key factual scenes over the 100 hours of the attack covering before, during and after the explosion, and the efforts that rallied the city to find the killers.

A fantastic ensemble cast plays the real individuals of the effort and includes John Goodman as Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Kevin Bacon as FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, J.K. Simmons as Watertown Police Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese, and Jimmy O. Yang as the Tsarnaevs’ carjacked driver Dun Meng.

Watching this despicable crime unfold, the horror of those injured and the harrowing effort by the police in both the behind-the-scenes investigation and the ultimate shoot-out and capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will rivet and rally viewers.

Although Mr. Berg delivers a sobering drama, perhaps the last 15 minutes of the film are the most powerful.

The real-life players of this drama appear, both victims and law enforcement officials, to remind us about the strength and resiliency of the human spirit. The take-away message that good will always defeat evil could not be stronger in “Patriots Day.”

4K UHD in action: The 2160p transfer featuring high dynamic range imagery first offers a stellar visual travelogue of Boston, showing both night and day flyovers of the city.

The film highlights Boston’s skyline as well as places such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Medical Center and Dartmouth University, as well as the East Cambridge and Watertown areas.

The action is often worthy of a pause to appreciate the gorgeous building architecture of the famed city.

Next, and more difficult to watch, is the devastation to Boston runners and spectators, both aurally and visually brought to life via a mix of high-end digital camera clarity, and murky broadcast video and surveillance footage.

Especially visually intense was the nighttime firefight in Watertown, revealed in simply stunning detail to focus on the insanity local police officers had to deal with as the Tsarnaev brothers used guns, pipe bombs and pressure cooker bombs to keep them at bay.

Best extras: The 90 minutes worth of featurettes are all contained on the 4K UHD and mostly offer tributes to the men and women involved in the attack while further explaining the minutia of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Some overlap exists in the segments, but all are worth watching.

Most poignant was a trio of documentary-style segments (21 minutes in total) labeled “The Boston Strong: True Stories of Courage” that spotlights the following three individuals as they reflect on their roles in the events:

Dr. Jeffrey Kalish provided surgical support for the victims at Boston Medical; Mr. Meng escaped from the terrorists after they hijacked his car; and Sgt. Pugliese shot point-blank at Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a pistol duel in the middle of a firefight.

Next, two featurettes (almost 42 minutes long) reinforce Mr. Berg’s and Mr. Wahlberg’s commitment to not exploit the tragedy but honor the individuals involved and highlight the strength and love of the Boston people. Many interviews with cast, crew as well as local Bostonians support the pieces.

Best of the bunch is a pair of extended discussions (about 9 minutes each) between Mr. Goodman and his real-life counterpart, Commissioner Davis, as well as Mr. Yang talking with Mr. Meng. Both shed more light on the heroes in an intimate setting. I would have loved if Mr. Bacon and Mr. DesLauriers, as well as Mr. Simmons and Mr. Pugliese, also had their own conversational segments.

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