Today I saw the absolutely incredible movie Patriots Day.  This movie is tense, gut-wrenching, exciting, and a wonderfully moving tribute to the victims of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the bravery of its first responders, and the resilience of the city of Boston and its surrounding communities.

The post-movie interviews of real-life individuals portrayed in the movie is as well-done as anything I have seen.  Director Peter Berg has delivered a masterpiece.  The way he wove the individual stories of law enforcement and the victims together was extremely impactful.

Two things you should be aware of.  Like many of these type of films, it reflects the violence of the event.  The scene where a police officer faithfully stays with the body of a deceased young boy is absolutely heartbreaking.  Also, there are dozens and dozens of F-bombs.  I will give them a break here as it probably accurately reflects the culture and level of intensity.  However, the opening scene of a Wahlberg arrest was pointless and not needed.

The following are 21 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From Patriots Day The Movie:

  1. #RealityCheck – Prior to going to the film, I received an unexpected $375 car repair.  Needless to say I was quite upset.  Then when I witnessed what those involved in the bombing experienced, I was quite embarrassed by my attitude.  This movie provided a healthy and much-needed dose of perspective.
  2. Chemistry Matters In Leadership – This is the 3rd film made by Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg.  They clearly have great chemistry and know how to bring out the best in each other.  For my reviews of their first two films click Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon.
  3. Great Cities Have Great Civic Pride – Patrick Downes, who would play a significantly inspirational role later in the film, said “There are three things to do on Patriots Day – watch the marathon, run the marathon, go to Fenway and cheer for the Red Sox.”
  4. Crisis can happen in an instant.  What was supposed to be a joyous occasion changed countless lives forever.
  5. First Responders Are Great Leaders And True Heroes – First responders deserve our admiration and respect.  They run into situations everyone else is running away from.
  6. Young leaders value and follow experienced leaders.  When the FBI arrived on the scene, Saunders was visibly frustrated and upset.  One of his fellow officers advised him to calm down.  The younger officers were watching and following his lead.
  7. Expertise is invaluable during times of crisis. FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, played wonderfully by Kevin Bacon, was experienced in dealing with terrorist acts and provided needed wisdom, insight and expertise.
  8. You must be decisive during times of crisis. DesLauriers immediately setup a command center, reconstructed the crimes scene, and began organizing all available resources to identify and apprehend the terrorists.
  9. Clear communication is a necessity for leading during a time of crisis.  Several times during the movie, law enforcement were advise to clear the lines of communication.  Also DesLauriers’ instructions left no room for interpretation.
  10. First Responders Pay A High Price For Our Safety.  After witnessing the massive amount of injuries at the bomb site, Saunders said, “I’ve got these images in my head.  They won’t go away.”
  11. Partnerships are more effective when the focus is on solving the problem. There were a number of federal and local agencies working together to capture the terrorists.  I was very impressed with their professionalism and sense of teamwork.  They focused not on their individual rights and turf wars but rather solving the problem.
  12. Know your goal.  Know your role.  There were several instances when different agencies were responsible for various assignments.  In each instance, there were seamless handoffs to the most skilled individuals.
  13. Good prevails when good people do something.  Saunders said, “You’ve got to start letting Boston work for you.”
  14. Evil prevails when good people do nothing.  One of the bombers had three classmates who immediately recognized him from the news footage.  In addition, they shared texts with him and found bomb making materials in his closet.  Yet, they did not notify law enforcement.
  15. Put your best resources into solving your most pressing problems.  When the terrorists were identified, the amount of military and police personnel and resources given to the search were appropriately massive.
  16. Love Never Fails – Saunders said, “When the devil hits you like that the only way to fight back is with love…That’s the only thing he won’t touch.”
  17. Boston Red Sox superstar David Ortiz told the Fenway crowd at the first game after the bombing, “This jersey doesn’t say Red Sox.  It says Boston…Stay strong.”
  18. “It took days to plan this bombing.  Love responded in an instant.” – real life bombing survivors and amputees Patrick Downes and his wife Jessica Kensky in a post-movie interview
  19. “Boston Strong says we’re going to stand up and defend ourselves.” – post-movie interview
  20. “The bombers took lives and limbs…but they gave us a stronger sense and common cause.” – post-movie interview
  21. “Be confident that good will always defeat evil.” – Downes

Once again, just an absolute triumph by Berg and demonstrates the incredible resiliency of the Boston community.


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