New ‘Patriots’ Day’ Trailer Raises Moral Questions

We’ve reached the point of the year where we have a pretty good idea about what’s going to be an Oscar contender. Sure, there have been some surprises (Arrival, potentially Hidden Figures) and some upsets (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), but for the most part, we have a pretty good idea about what’s in the running and what isn’t. In fact, there are only three question marks that remain: Silence, Live By Night and Peter Berg’s Patriots’ Day. We now have our second trailer for the last of the three now, giving us a better idea of what to expect.

A large scale epic exploring the Boston Marathon Bombing from the eyes of the law enforcement departments trying to bring the perpetrators to justice, including Boston Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugilese (J.K. Simmons) and the FBI Agent in charge Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon).

This trailer has me split down the middle. I think Berg is a highly competent director, and his Deepwater Horizon from earlier this year is really quite good. However, there’s some stuff that scares me about this. First, it looks really by the numbers, which has me a little worried. Second, the entire moment between the two Muslim women seems not only forced, but a bit frightening. I’m not entirely fond of the idea of glorifying the notion of telling citizens that they don’t deserve rights, no matter who they are. Lone Survivor walked this line closely with the whole “Is it morally wrong to kill an unarmed civilian?” but at least it ended on a more uplifting and moralistic note. I’m hoping for something closer to Zero Dark Thirty (yeah, we did it, but that doesn’t justify it) than a Michael Bay film or worse, but we’ll see. At any rate, Patriots’ Day premieres December 21st, and we’ll have word from the AFI Fest in three days if the film is any good. You can watch the trailer below and get a better idea for yourself.

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