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  1. Published on: 13/12/2017 09:44 AMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: The true story of 2013 Boston Marathon bomb survivor, Jeff Bauman.

    Since the tragic incident at the 2013 Boston Marathon, movies involving stories from that event have started to come out.
    The very end of last year saw Patriots Day, which presented how the breakdown of tracking down the two bombers. I really liked it and was universally well praised.

    Now we have a more human story about the most publicized of the survivors, Jeff Bauman.

    While it was a hard time, Boston really showed the world how much of a community they are. I have noticed that during my couple of decades of sports viewing, especially with the Red Sox. While I don't support any of the Boston teams, I did feel somewhat happy when one of them succeeds, except the Patriots. But that's story for another time.

    As for the film, I was rather impressed by it. On paper, it sounds formulaic. But its structure felt really authentic, convincing, believable and honest as well as emotional. It does not mess around with the situation at hand, and then it moves at a gentle pace as we see the struggles our characters are facing.
    I like it that they showed the bleak side of being a local hero that the media does not usually show. But as we headed towards the end, it does hint at heading the route similar to that of the strange and not that good 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk'. But thankfully, that's all it ever did and we were quickly got back on track to an emotional finale.

    Jake Gyllenhaal is great as usual. I have always admired the films he chooses and his style of acting is never the type that wants to get noticed. I never feel like he's acting. He always looks like he is just in the moment and being a real person, and you can really feel his characters vulnerability throughout in this one. There is one completely gripping and tense at the very end of the first act, that is really powerful stuff, and that was thanks in part to Gyllenhaal.
    Also, his chemistry with Tatiana Maslany was pretty strong, genuine and was engaging to watch. Apparantly Maslany is more known for her TV work. But I hope this pushes her movie career and I really enjoyed watching her. Miranda Richardson did a really good job and became quite integral and highly memorable, especially in the first half.

    The only thing I had a problem with was the ending. I can see the this part of the film being heavily criticized for it feeling too Hollywoodized and cliched. I will agree with that for the most part, but there some genuinely emotional moments in that segment, and I felt everything that preceded it made me a bit more lenient with their execution of the final act.

    But on the whole, I really liked this. It never felt like one of those inspiring road-to-recoveries like in a Rocky film. The journey this story took felt very real and it did not pull any punches. It made you feel the pain our central character was feeling when adjusting to this dramatic change in his life, plus the people around him.
    Jake Gyllenhaal alone is worth the price of a ticket as he continues to expand his strong back catalogue, and I will forever be excited for any of his future projects.

    Rating: 8/10
     

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