Early ‘Patriots Day’ Reviews Have Oscar Pundits on Alert

Patriots Day

Peter Berg‘s Boston Marathon bombing drama “Patriots Day” closed out the AFI Fest Thursday evening to good reviews across the board.

The film features an all-star cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons and more.

The official synopsis states:

An account of the Boston Marathon bombing, ‘Patriots Day’ is the powerful story of a community’s courage in the face of terror. In the aftermath of an unspeakable attack, Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Wahlberg) joins courageous survivors, first responders and investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the bombers before they strike again. Weaving together the stories of Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon), Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons) and nurse Carol Saunders (Michelle Monaghan), this visceral and unflinching chronicle captures the suspense of one of the most sophisticated manhunts in law enforcement history and celebrates the strength of the people of Boston.

Our own Clayton Davis said this of the film (full review still to come):

‘Patriots Day’ is heartwrenching, suspenseful, and a love letter to Boston and police officers. Peter Berg’s best film by a mile.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote an overall positive review of the film, calling it, “Kinetic, well cast and technically impressive — but not as stirring as it might have been.”

Meanwhile, Variety’s review found issue with the focus on Wahlberg’s character but called that “a minor quibble.” Ultimately, they had this to say about the film:

But ‘Patriots Day’ is no rush-job TV movie; it’s genuinely exciting megaplex entertainment, informed by extensive research, featuring bona fide movie stars, and staged with equal degrees of professionalism and respect…

The Guardian gave the film four stars out of five, and called the film “a moving and compelling homage to a city and its spirit, as well as a gripping procedural.”

IndieWire graded the film with a B-rating, saying the film “is at its best when it lets its characters’ heroic deeds speak for themselves.”

Word of the reaction to the film has many Oscar pundits wondering if it could be an Oscar spoiler. Deadline’s Pete Hammond gave his take:

A couple of weeks ago, before I had seen the film, [CBS Films chief Terry] Press told me she had a hunch this late entry could be a “disruptor” in the awards race. It may well be as I think the tense, superbly made movie is probably Berg’s best, and most accomplished, film to date — or at least since ‘Friday Night Lights.’ The merging of documentary footage of actual events with the re-creations is seamless, and gives it all a lot of added gravitas. It could also score well in technical categories.

THR’s awards prognosticator Scott Feinberg also believes the film will factor into the Oscars. He points out that the incredible cast is perfect for a SAG ensemble nomination, which is typically a harbinger of a Best Picture nod. He also gives shout-outs to the script, score and production design.

So what does all of this mean for Awards Circuit’s predictions on the race? Stay tuned for those updates in the coming days!

Tell us: Do you think “Patriots Day” will factor into the Oscar race? Let us know in the comments below!