Patriots Day (4K Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 10-May-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-The Boston Strong: Stories of Courage
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale
Featurette-The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes' Stories
Featurette-The Cast Remembers
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Researching the Day
Featurette-Actors Meet Their Real Life Counterparts
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 133:11
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Peter Berg
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Mark Wahlberg
John Goodman
Kevin Bacon
Themo Melikidze
Alex Wolff
Michelle Monaghan
Rachel Brosnahan
Jimmy O. Yang
Jake Picking
Christopher O'Shea
Melissa Benoist
J.K. Simmons
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music Trent Reznor
Atticus Ross


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS-X
English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 2160p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Extra material during credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Patriots Day sees director Peter Berg imprint his distinctive, realistic aesthetic onto the true-life story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt for the perpetrators. Bergís second based-on-a-true-story feature of 2016 (after Deepwater Horizon), the picture is a perfect fit for the filmmakerís idiosyncrasies, allowing him to orchestrate a powerful drama with harrowing images of violence, buoyed by strong performances from a top-flight cast. The sheer power of Patriots Day cannot be understated; itís suspenseful, focused, and remarkably constructed, not to mention respectful to both the event and the people involved, rendering it Bergís best filmmaking endeavour to date. Much like Deepwater, Patriots Day unfortunately failed to gain much traction at the box office, pulling in a mere $50 million worldwide against its modest $45 million budget. Still, we should be thankful that this important motion picture exists.

††† Returning to active duty after a period of suspension, troubled cop Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) is dealing with an injured knee and a damaged reputation when heís assigned security duty at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day, 2013. When the marathon is rounding down on the day, two bombs are detonated in the crowd, killing three and critically injuring many others, sending the event into utter chaos. Among the injured are young couple Jessica Kensky (Rachel Brosnahan) and Patrick Downes (Christopher OíShea), who are taken to separate hospitals and left to hope that they will survive and reunite. FBI Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) swiftly sets up a Boston-based command centre to investigate the bombings, collaborating with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) as the specialist team comb through evidence and CCTV footage, hoping to catch the perpetrators before they are able to execute another attack. The bombings were carried out by terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze) and his timid younger brother Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff), who feel the pressure mounting as the manhunt intensifies and their images are released by law enforcement officials.

††† As perhaps to be expected, a certain amount of controversy greeted Patriots Day upon release, with conspiracy nuts claiming that the marathon bombings were a hoax, that the bombers were just patsies, and that the movie is inaccurate. But conspiracy theorists can (and will) argue all day about what they believe to be true - what matters is the movie itself, and it appears to be a very accurate account of the officially-reported events, only taking dramatic license when necessary to enhance the drama. (After all, Paul Greengrassí United 93 is still a masterpiece, even if 9/11 was an inside job.) The only patent inaccuracy is Wahlbergís Tommy Saunders, a fictional composite character who happens to be present at basically every major event that transpires. Giving the story a ďheroĒ may seem unnecessary, but Saunders functions as our entry point into the narrative to make it feel more dramatically cohesive, lest the movie feel like a disjointed docudrama. It may strain credulity that Saunders shows up everywhere and has significant bearing on the investigation, but if you can accept this conceit, Patriots Day is a chilling account of a harrowing modern terrorist attack.

††† The screenplay (credited to Berg, Matt Cook and Joshua Zetumer) reportedly reconciles two different Boston Marathon bombing projects, in order to split its focus between the victims affected by the terror attack and the authorities involved in the manhunt. Patriots Day is a full meal, exploring the lead-up to the marathon and showing the general reaction after the bombings, with many Americans taking it personally. Berg also provides a snapshot of the other side, delving into the strange relationship between the two perpetrators, on top of showing Dzhokharís stoner college roommates choosing to protect their pal after recognising him in the photos released to the media. Wisely, the film doesnít pretend to know the brothersí motivation for the bombing - Tamerlan is seen watching terrorist propaganda videos online, and religious rewards are briefly discussed, but no definitive answers are presented.

††† Bergís matter-of-fact directorial approach fits the material like a glove. Thereís no flag-waving or any insufferable jingoism here, but rather a compelling story thatís told straight-up, backed by terrific technical specs from top to bottom. The recreation of the marathon bombings is downright unnerving, showing both the terror and confusion of the immediate aftermath. Berg also crafts a few other nerve-jangling set-pieces, including the carjacking of Chinese immigrant Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang) that will leave you clutching your armrests. Equally effective is a major shootout on the residential streets of Watertown between the bombers and the police, showing once again that Berg has a real talent for nail-biting action sequences. Berg doesnít balk at showing the stomach-churning consequences of explosives and bullets, earning the movieís R rating, but he also exhibits sufficient tact to prevent the movie from feeling like violence porn. Editors Colby Parker Jr. and Gabriel Fleming seamlessly splice archival footage throughout certain sequences to heighten the sense of verisimilitude, and the movie is further topped off with a poignant, pulsing original score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network). There are even welcome moments of levity throughout, which miraculously donít come across as cheap.

††† Luckily, performances are impressive from top to bottom, enhancing the storyís power. Boston native Wahlberg nails it as Saunders, carving out a central character who does his best in every situation, but is not exactly a stereotypical hero. Saunders is fallible and vulnerable, nursing his debilitating knee injury, and even having a breakdown when he comes home to his wife, played superbly by Michelle Monaghan. Wahlberg never sets a foot wrong or seems contrived, and it helps that he genuinely hails from Boston. In supporting roles, both Goodman and Bacon are at the top of their game, and itís riveting to watch them work. Also worth mentioning is J.K. Simmons in a small but critical role as Watertownís police sergeant. Simmons acquits himself admirably, coming across as effortlessly real in every scene. Melissa Benoist, perhaps best known for playing the titular role on TVís Supergirl, even contributes a memorable supporting performance as Tamerlanís wife Katherine. To her credit, sheís borderline unrecognisable.

††† Patriots Day is a welcome, edifying chronicle of a horrifying contemporary event, packing in enough of the salient facts whilst always remaining both interesting and gripping. In his previous motion pictures, Berg has celebrated masculinity to a certain extent, but Patriots Day is more a study of fragility and innocence - after all, the people who were killed and injured in the marathon bombings were innocent civilians who only wanted a fun time. Like Lone Survivor, the movie ends with further explication as well as images of the real people involved. Itís a touching way to close the door, underscoring that despite the horror of the event, people stood strong together and humanity can be amazing. If Berg continues to make movies like this, Iíll always be there to watch them.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Any 4K Blu-ray release is a win in my books, and thankfully Roadshow made the decision to release Patriots Day on Ultra HD for interested local consumers, following in the shadow of their 4K release of Bergís Deepwater Horizon. (Lone Survivor has seen an international 4K release from Universal, but nothing in Australia yet.) As with many of Roadshowís 4K releases, this is exactly the same disc thatís available in the United States, right down to a Lionsgate production company intro and no sign of any Roadshow branding on the disc. And the results are mightily agreeable. For maximum picture quality, this Ultra HD edition makes use of a triple-layer 100GB disc, permitting a high bitrate while also leaving room to accommodate the smattering of special features.

††† Patriots Day is certainly not the type of movie that instantly screams out for a 4K release, due to the nature of the production and the lack of real eye candy (not to mention its poor box office performance), but the benefits of this HEVC/H.265-encoded 2160p presentation cannot be understated or overlooked. Despite being reportedly shot at 3.4K and finished at 2K resolution (according to IMDb), there is a slight but noticeable uptick in textures and details here compared to the standard Blu-ray, and it better brings out the thin layer of source-related noise in certain low-light sequences to accentuate the texture of the image. Said noise was visible in the cinema, and itís finely-rendered here, never proving to be distracting. Sharpness is never an issue thankfully, with the transfer exhibiting terrific object delineation no matter the conditions. Quality of the video can vary in spots, however - the movie makes use of archival surveillance footage thatís blurry and pixelated, which of course traces back to the source. The shoddy quality of said video is even more distracting in 2160p.

††† While the added resolution alone does provide improvements over the standard Blu-ray, where this release really soars is the colour, thanks to the smart use of HDR (High Dynamic Range). The video as a whole is a touch darker than its 1080p counterpart, but it adds to the atmosphere and thereís never any sign of unsightly black crush. Admittedly, the colours never pop with the same kind of vibrancy thatís visible in other 4K titles, but this is a creative decision, and what matters is that the presentation is an accurate rendering of Bergís vision. A considerable portion of the movie takes place at night, including the carjacking as well as the Watertown shootout, and the 4K transfer never falters. In terms of clarity, deep blacks and detail, this UHD edition blows the 1080p Blu-ray out of the water in night-time scenes, showing the real benefits of this format. Thereís always so much depth to the image thanks to the HDR, even though itís only encoded in HDR10 as opposed to Dolby Vision.

††† There are simply no flaws with the 4K presentation or the encoding to speak of. To be sure, if this was a native 4K title then it could have looked even better, and Dolby Vision might have offered a slight improvement, but this is just minor nit-picking - rest assured that this transfer does not disappoint. With its generous bitrate, enriched colours, increased resolution, more precisely-rendered details and lack of bothersome video artefacts, this is the definitive way to watch Patriots Day at home, and it is well worth spending the extra money if youíre 4K-compatible. Indeed, the standard 1080p presentation is solid if unremarkable, but in Ultra HD the movie really shows what the format can offer. Buy with confidence.

††† A few subtitle options are available.

††† Note: Ultra HD is a new technology, and to get the most out of it, you need the proper equipment. Beyond the obvious UHD TV and 4K Blu-ray player, you also need to upgrade to HDMI 2.0 cables which are fast enough to accommodate the high bitrate of a 4K disc, and support HDR. Some UHD televisions - as paradoxical as it sounds - don't even have HDMI 2.0 ports (buy Hisense at your own risk), so shop around before you buy. In addition to this, to get the most out of the viewing experience, your TV needs to be able to support HDR10 and/or Dolby Vision. Not all UHD TVs are created equally. Shop wisely, my friends.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† The standard 1080p Blu-ray from Roadshow only offers a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, which is a downgrade compared to the DTS:X mix available overseas. But since this 4K disc was sourced directly from Lionsgate, an enormously effective DTS:X mix is in place here which should please audiofiles with the expensive surround sound set-up to appreciate it. I do not have a DTS:X-compatible system, thus the audio defaulted to a DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix on my set-up, and I was hard-pressed to find any faults or shortcomings with the lossless track, representing a superlative recreation of the cinema experience. Itís certainly a notable step up compared to the 5.1 mix.

††† Realism is the name of Bergís game, of course, so every gunshot and explosion is impactful, thanks to effective subwoofer accentuation. The Watertown shootout is an excellent example of the benefits of a crisp, lossless surround presentation - gunshots and flying bullets appear to be all around you thanks to lively surround activity, putting you in the thick of the intense shootout. The marathon bombs themselves are guaranteed to make you jump, though they are shown from a certain distance so the sound effects are a tad muted. However, the directionality of the explosion - and of most of the movie's sound effects - is something to behold. This is one professionally-mixed track. Everything sounds lifelike and realistic, from helicopters to cars and even hospital ambience. Dialogue is never an issue - itís consistently easy to hear and comprehend, while the score fills the rear channels to terrific effect.

††† This is a layered, crystal clear mix which leaves nothing to be desired, and gave my surround sound system a solid workout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† The 4K disc features the exact same slate of extras available on the standard Blu-ray. The producer of the special features revealed online that the featurettes were completed and delivered at 4K resolution, making this a home video first.

The Boston Strong: Stories of Courage (UHD; 21:31)

††† This first extra is divided up into three segments: Dr. Jeffrey Kalish (6:41), Dun Meng (7:34), and Sgt. Jeff Pugliese (7:18). Unlike the standard Blu-ray, there is a Play All function available. I found the first piece focusing on a Boston surgeon to be especially interesting, as it shines a light on the medical professionals responsible for saving lives after the bombings, an aspect thatís neglected in the other extras on this disc. The segment on Dun is also worthwhile, containing interviews with more of the real-life people, and showing parts of the surveillance recordings of his escape. And finally, Sgt. Puglieseís story shows the real location of the Watertown shootout, where bullet holes are still visible. With the three parts of this featurette totalling over twenty minutes, this is a welcome addition to the disc and well worth viewing.

The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale (UHD; 21:43)

††† This excellent featurette is more focused on the production of the movie, tracing the early prep work as cast and crew spent time in Boston before shooting to meet as many locals as possible. The production got the support of Boston and gained permission to shoot there, with interviews revealing that everybody involved in the movie wanted to do it right and not simply exploit the terrible event. Facets of filming are covered too, including the recreation of the marathon finishing line, and the interviews are all intercut with behind-the-scenes footage. Thereís not much fluff here - this is a fascinating extra.

The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes' Stories (UHD; 19:48)

††† In this meaty extra, many of the real-life heroes of the story share their experiences, and Berg along with various actors talk about meeting said people. I particularly enjoyed the discussion about Dun Meng, the Chinese student who managed to escape the bombers after they carjacked him. Itís clear that everybody in the production holds great respect for the real people, making this another worthwhile extra.

The Cast Remembers (UHD; 5:51)

††† In this brief but nevertheless effective piece, the actors recall first hearing about the Boston Marathon bombings, and their initial reaction to the news.

Actors Meet Their Real Life Counterparts: A 2 Part Series (UHD; 18:13)†

††† This extra is divided up into two segments: Jimmy O. Yang and Dun Meng (10:03), and John Goodman and Ed Davis (8:05). Again, there is a Play All function available, or you can watch each segment individually. Itís extremely interesting to watch these interactions, and itís clear once again that the actors have utmost respect for the men they played in the movie.

Researching the Day (UHD; 11:22)

††† In this final featurette thatís more focused on the movie itself than the real-life event, Bergís dedication to realism and accurately recreating events is reiterated, and the research process is also discussed. Especially interesting is the discussion about adding Tommy Saunders, who is a composite character, to the movie. Some critics have taken issue with Wahlbergís character being present at every major event, but the reasoning for adding him is sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † This is the same disc available in the United States, featuring the exact same specs and extras. Therefore it's a tie, and you can buy local with confidence.

Summary

††† Patriots Day left this reviewer with many tears in his eyes. It's enormously powerful, and it's bereft of hoary Hollywood exaggeration, making it a superb chronicle of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. If you can handle this sort of content, Patriots Day is essential viewing which deserves a second life on home video.

††† The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is excellent. The technical presentation is superlative, boasting superior image quality and a notable audio upgrade compared to Roadshow's standard Blu-ray. Plus the 4K disc contains a solid selection of informative special features All in all, this disc comes highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSamsung UBD-K8500 4K HDR Blu-Ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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