Writer/Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing takes viewers back to Boylston Street, documenting the lives of the families who were impacted by a moment of terror that forever changed the city of Boston, the country and the world. (BKP: 4.5/5)
Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky
April 15, 2013: A perfect day for runners who had trained months for the 117th Annual Boston Marathon. A perfect day for spectators to cheer and watch as their brothers, sisters, friends and strangers cross the finish line.
At 2:49 pm, a bomb detonated on Boylston Street. Twelve seconds later and 210 yards away, another. The attack left three civilians dead, 264 injured.
Marathon goes beyond the images and video footage that flashed across national news stations by following four families of the victims, putting faces to the names on the “injured” list: newlyweds Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, brothers Paul and JP Norden and mother/daughter Celeste and Sydney Corcoran. Stern and Sunberg chronicle the pain, heartache and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder faced during their long roads of recovery.
The powerful, emotionally draining documentary weaves together the timeline of the bombing, including the manhunt for Islamic terrorist Tsarnaev brothers, along with the Boston Globe reporters/photographers who had to walk a difficult tightrope, careful not to cross the line of exploitation.
The coverage ties together a 110-minute-long documentary that is equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. Rather than focusing on the evils of two brothers and their cowardly acts of terror, the documentarians reassure viewers that there were heroes that day and many days after.
From the EMTs and police officers to the civilians who constructed makeshift tourniquets, Marathon takes a closer look at the human condition. Ninety people who were lying helpless on the cold sidewalks of Boylston Street made it to the hospital. Ninety of those people survived thanks to the first-responders who instinctively sprung into action to save the lives of strangers (with little knowledge who they voted for in the last election).
Many Americans remember that spring day, where they were and what they were doing when they turned on the news. But like any national tragedy, life tends to resume to “normal.” For the city of Boston, however, each marathon will be a reminder of April 15, 2013. But instead of remembering the horrific acts of terror, viewers may now think of Patrick and his determination, Jessica and her ongoing struggle, the love of brothers Paul and JP and the strength of Celeste and Sydney.
Next April will come around again, possibly a perfect day for runners who have trained months for the 122nd Annual Boston Marathon. A perfect day for spectators to cheer and watch as their brothers, sisters, friends and strangers cross the finish line.
© Brigid K. Presecky (11/21/16) FF2 Media
Top Photo: Patrick Downes prepares to run the Boston Marathon three years after the attack
Middle Photo: Celeste Corcoran in physical therapy
Bottom Photo: The finish line of the Boston Marathon, three years after the attack
Photo credits: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Courtesy of HBO
Q: Does Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?
Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg document the recovery of mother and daughter, Celeste and Sydney Corcoran.