Starring: Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, Michelle Monaghan, JK Simmons, Rachel Brosnahan, Jake Picking, Lana Condor, Melissa Benoist, Alex Wolff, Michael Beach, Khandi Alexander
Directed By: Peter Berg
Plot: Documents the Boston Marathon bombing, showing us many different stories, from police officers involved, to victims, to the terrorists themselves. The story plays out through the bombing, into the investigation, and the resulting manhunt.
What Works: Earlier this year Wahlberg and Berg gave us the well-intentioned, but unven Deepwater Horizon. This is so much better. Wahlberg really is emerging as an actor, and I see him. I see you Mark Wahlberg. This is his best performance. He really brings his heart into this project, finally fully investing himself in his character and the story. He is believable as a broken cop, trying his best to stay together to catch the terrorists. The film also is paced well, and tells the story we already know quite well. I felt like it hit every mark in the timeline exactly where it should have, keeping the intensity level high, and the audience engaged. This film celebrates heroes, and all those involved who helped to catch the terrorists. I love when a director comes at a project like this with a perspective and a story to tell, and Berg does just that. He pays real tribute to everyone involved that day. In a supporting role, Khandi Alexander absolutely slays her one scene.
What Doesn’t Work: I loved Wahlberg, and I thought Alexander did a good job, but I kinda felt like the film shorted the other terrific actors. Goodman has his shouty scenes, I suppose, but Bacon, and especially Simmons and Monaghan feel wasted. I kinda wanted them to each have a moment, and not every actor got theirs. I felt like Monaghan, especially, could have had a great scene, considering she was at the bombing, and she has the continued worry of her husband out on the streets looking for the terrorists. It just didn’t come, but I still loved what was there.
Final Word: I think this film deserves more attention going into the Oscar race. It’s a late game entry, but it’s one of the best films of the year. And if we were ever going to give Wahlberg a Best Actor nomination, it should be for this.
Final Grade: A