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‘Homeland,’ Season 6 Review: A Politically Correct Carrie Gone is the series’ original vitality, replaced with predictable politeness.By Dorothy Rabinowitz

It’s a far from familiar Carrie, bipolar scourge of terrorists, who shows up in season 6 of “Homeland,’’ set in that destination strivers around the world dream of living in—namely, Brooklyn. She’s there having abandoned any further service to the CIA, because—she makes clear in the show’s opening episodes—she’s become increasingly dismayed by America’s policies in the Middle East. Not to mention at home, where she’s appalled to discover that the U.S government has been taking the threat of homegrown terrorism seriously and going so far as to investigate enthusiasts of jihad, creators of websites for the dissemination of messages from Islamic State, devotees of suicide bombers, and even charging some suspected of connection with terror networks abroad.

So it is that we find an even more chronically infuriated Carrie than the one of previous seasons. Instead of chasing around the capitals of the world hunting down terrorists about to set off explosions intended to take the lives of tens of thousands of unbelievers, she’s now spending her days in her Brooklyn offices devoted to legal defense of Muslim males she considers unjustly charged victims of the U.S. government. Unjustly charged in many ways, in Carrie’s view—the most remarkable aspect of which is her complaint that the government investigators aiming to prevent the next mass murder of Americans never stopped to consider the emotional factors driving these subjects, or to take into account the fact that the efforts of some of the would-be perpetrators bent on grand-scale terror assaults turned out to be ineffectual anyway. It’s around about this point in her reasoning that you begin to miss the other Carrie who used to pop pills by the handful, and to wish she’d go and find that bottle she used to keep handy.

In episode 1, awash in introductions to Carrie’s new views, she’s furious about the fate of one man convicted of trying to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, using a blowtorch. “He’s doing 20 years essentially for being an idiot,” she broods. She goes into action in the case of a young Muslim, of Nigerian background, arrested as an online fan of jihadists and celebrator of suicide bombers, with a busy website—a possible material supporter of terror networks abroad. But in Carrie’s assessment, “just an angry kid.” In the unlikely event anybody has, within the first five minutes, not grasped the re-education mission of the series’ new season, the writers once given to obliqueness in the interest of mystery and style have Carrie hammering the messaging home. “Law enforcement,” Carrie declaims, “has to stop harassing and demonizing an entire community.”

Meryl Shoots Fish in a Barrel By Marilyn Penn

No courage was needed for Meryl Streep to stand before an audience of like-minded people to point her finger and raise her voice against the known object of their mutual disdain. That was easy. Here’s what would have taken some guts: condemning the role that the entertainment industry plays in glamorizing and disseminating wholesale violence on-screen, in video games, on television, in music and online. Particularly affected are the black youth who suffer infinitely more from the criminality of their brethren than from the purported racism of our men in blue. We’re all aware of the mind-boggling statistic of more than 750 murders in Chicago, Obama’s city of choice, this past year. Though many reasons for this may be offered and analyzed, the fact remains that extreme violence is now an available aphrodisiac 24/7 and if you have ever sat in a multiplex where one of these movies is playing, you don’t need to read here what the audience response is.

For that matter, why didn’t Meryl question why the movie Elle was nominated for several Golden Globe awards (winning two that evening). This is a movie that reverts to the canard that women can enjoy and be complicit in brutal rape. Since we westerners are free to express our vilest thoughts (on certain topics only), it’s no surprise that filmmakers can exploit this freedom, but the scolding Meryls of the industry should have the strength to question what is being singled out for special awards. As a woman who will undoubtedly participate in the Women’s March on Washington, why didn’t she at least raise that subject for her captive audience to consider?

We live in a schizophrenic society in which one industry encourages sex and violence, using the most attractive performers and sophisticated special effects to titilate viewers and turn them on. We then perversely force universities to act as campus school-marms who call any disrespect towards women sexual harassment and punish it by denying constitutional civil rights to the accused men during investigation and adjudication. Meryl had the perfect venue and opportunity to challenge her employers and peers to stop aiming powerful ammunition at a population increasingly unable to handle it.

Instead of choosing this more difficult high road, Meryl gave her audience the sure and easy high five.


In her blithering ignorance Streep almost destroyed the Apple Growers of America by testifying against “Alar” in 1989, a hoax tht was later dismissed by the New York Times, after it cost the industry over $100 million.

It was difficult yesterday to avoid footage of that heartfelt thespian Meryl Streep giving Donald Trump the rounds of the kitchen for humiliating on November 8 the woman for whom she served as a warm-up act at the 2016 Democratic Convention. You can watch the full measure of her passionate Hillaryphillia at this link. Apparently Mrs Clinton’s XX chromosomes were all the recommendation anyone could need to put her in the White House.

The ABC and Fairfax gave Streep’s Golden Globes address much prominence, which was no less surprising than their omission of an explanatory paragraph or two putting into context Streep’s absurd claim that Hollywood might soon be purged of foreigners by presidential edict. If those creative aliens lack green cards and slipped undocumented across US borders, yes, that might well be the case, but it is a safe bet that Tinseltown’s directors, costumers and the like are fully and properly credentialled, unlikely to be dragged at midnight from their beds. Unless Peter Weir entered the US under the guidance of a people-smuggling ‘coyote’, he can probably rest easy.

‘Hidden Figures’ Review: Breaking Barriers of Space, Race and Gender How three black women in the segregated South helped put a man into orbit By Joe Morgenstern

‘Hidden Figures” brings news that keeps you thinking with amazement, “Who knew?” Its larger subject, set in the early 1960s during the height of the Cold War, is a story that had already been told definitively, or so we may have thought, by Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff” and the movie based on his book—Project Mercury and America’s race with the Soviet Union to put a man into space. But who knew that NASA depended, at that pioneering time, on flesh-and-blood mathematicians (they were called computers) to calculate flight trajectories until sufficiently powerful transistor-and-punch-card computers came on line; that many of those gifted people were black women, working together in a segregated unit at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.; and that one member of the unit played a crucial role in the flight that made John Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth?

This remarkable story within a story focuses on three of the women: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), whom Glenn considered indispensable to his Friendship 7 mission; Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), who mastered computer language early on and eventually—meaning ever so belatedly—became NASA’s first black supervisor; and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), who, by way of becoming a graduate engineer, had been forced to petition the city of Hampton in order to take extension courses she needed, since they were being given in an all-white high school.

As is inevitably the case when a fiction film is based on a nonfiction book, events have been telescoped and dramatic liberties taken. (Theodore Melfi directed from a screenplay that he and Allison Schroeder adapted from the book by Margot Lee Shetterly. The cinematographer was Mandy Walker.) The tone is earnest, with dialogue that sometimes plods when you want it to fly—a running time of 127 minutes doesn’t help the pacing—and a couple of pieces of casting are infelicitous: Jim Parsons gives a flat performance as the fictional Paul Stafford, NASA’s lead engineer, and Glen Powell is years too young to play John Glenn, who looks like a gung-ho frat boy. (Kevin Costner, by contrast, brings a dry wit and some needed bite to another fictional role, that of NASA manager Al Harrison.)

Sense vs. Nonsense Denzel Washington’s Fences confronts Black Lives Matter. By Armond White

Before the Black Lives Matter craze exacerbated contemporary attitudes about race and black social continuity, playwright August Wilson’s Fences articulated a black tribal viewpoint of the ambition, grievance, and assorted religious, sexual, and political beliefs borne by African American experience. The play focused on Troy Maxon, a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh, who regaled his wife, their two sons, his brother, and a best friend of his personal feelings and beliefs, constantly recalling the things he’s gone through as a black American male. (He’s affectionately described as “Uncle Remus. Got more stories than the devil got sinners.”) Maxon’s tough, defensive attitude stemmed largely from his failed athletic career — an abiding frustration explained by the stifling segregation of the Jim Crow era. Maxon is Wilson’s archetypal character, a beyond-eloquent mouthpiece for the bitterness Wilson felt about the existential inequities suffered because of American racism.

Although Fences derives from the black oral tradition, its ideas were by no means obscure or marginalized, but in fact are so familiar to American theatrical practice that the play received two celebrated Broadway productions, the first in 1987 starring James Earl Jones, the second in 2010 starring Denzel Washington. Now Washington directs the film version of Fences (he repeats the role of Maxon) as an established classic of American theatrical literature rather than another Obama Effect film reflecting the opportunistic recent events (denoted by Ferguson and Black Lives Matter) that set a new paradigm for thinking about race.

By these terms, Fences is a conservative movie — which is unfortunate artistically and interesting politically. It feels dialogue-heavy because Washington doesn’t command the cinematic rhythm of movement and imagery that makes the best film adaptations of plays (David Lean’s Blithe Spirit, Sidney Lumet’s Long Day’s Journey into Night) seem perfect, absolutely natural, visual records of behavior. But it is that dialogue — Wilson’s deliberate, elaborately staged poetry, Maxon’s machine-gun rattling of self-shaped philosophies — that gives the play its conservatism.

Although Wilson’s writing was contemporary (he died in 2005), his ten-play output — a cycle set during every decade of the 20th century — chronicled black American history. Each drama used the background of gradual social progress, yet every story was rooted in earthly frustration, high and low spiritual aspiration (best evinced by Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), and political reality. In portraying the latter, Wilson commemorated how black folks recognized the evidence of ineradicable racism and still got on with their lives. His richest characters, like Maxon, believe in the principles of hard work, self-reliance, personal obligation, and ethical achievement.

These specific, sometimes lyrical African American truths contradict the inexact, sentimental grievance thrown up by Black Lives Matter. Wilson’s conservative narratives, with their heartfelt emphasis on personal relations, demonstrate the difference between entitlement as earned historically by human effort and the empty radical postures assumed by facile cultural inheritance. That’s the source of the conflict between Maxon and his older son, Lyons, an itinerant musician, and his younger son, Cory, a pouting, willful schoolboy.

Fences’ rebuttal to a pseudo-political social movement occurs inadvertently, as a benefit of Wilson’s concern with experience-based black values rather than political fashion. The difference is both temperamental and generational, but it is ironic that Wilson came to prominence during the rise of hip-hop culture; as if he felt the same inspiration as the post–Civil Rights, crack-era generation of America’s damaged black youth who were beginning to articulate and romanticize their own experiences. Fact is, the ingrained traditions of comprehending and surviving racism can be expressed in different idioms. Wilson has said that his writing was inspired by black poet Ishmael Reed, whose own vernacular (part of the 1960s Black Arts Movement) is as different from Wilson’s as it is from Public Enemy and Geto Boys, yet they all work the same territory. They recognize the black ethical history that Black Lives Matter (if not all contemporary liberalism) has abandoned.

Toni Erdmann – A Dissent By Marilyn Penn

If you find the sight of a sixty-something man in a bad wig with false buck teeth a hilarious sight gag, you will like this movie. If you require some actual wit or clever comedic dialogue to make you laugh, you should watch an old Woody Allen film on Netflix and leave Toni Erdmann to the too-easily pleased. The setup for this movie is simple: A father is concerned that his accomplished adult daughter working in Bucharest at a high-powered consulting job is too uptight and missing out on the important things in life. To cure her of this misguided direction, he pays an unexpected visit to her Rumanian apartment – a visit that doesn’t go well. Rather than taking the hint that he’s unwelcome at this time, he decides to stalk his daughter and with the aid of his wig and tooth disguise, pop up at places and events that will embarrass and humiliate her to the breaking point. Despite looking like a deranged derelict, he is invited to join the events and activities that he has crashed with various false identities, leaving this viewer even more amazed than his daughter.

In the first place, the actor doesn’t look different enough with his masquerade – his own hair, teeth and body are sufficiently scruffy to make him a negative stand-out without the props. Secondly, since we have seen a bit of his own rather solitary life with his old dog , his ailing mother and a non-distinguished career as a music teacher, we wonder whether he’s the right person to teach his daughter much of anything. In this movie, being a “prankster’’ is synonymous with liveliness and love of life. From my seat, I saw an overgrown jerk whose adolescent fart pillow was unlikely to have been tolerated by any of the characters who people this film. A highlight of the movie is the daughter’s spontaneous decision to host her small birthday party in the nude and her insistence that to join the party, the guests must get naked too This belongs in the same category as finding wigs and false teeth super-funny; if seeing nude grownups in various stages of awkwardness gives you a giggle, you know where to find it. If it strikes you as too obvious to have symbolic impact, good for your discretionary taste. You might want to watch some reruns of Larry David for more insightful peeks into awkward behavior by clueless adults.

It won’t be a spoiler to tell you that things end up better than anyone deserves and far less funny than reviews have claimed. Perhaps because Germans have a sub-zero reputation for humor, critics have applied the equivalent of grade inflation to their evaluations of any attempt at this genre. Having summoned Larry David, I will now add his partner Jerry Seinfeld to remind everyone that until an episode on Seinfeld, no one had the guts to confess that despite its brilliant reviews, The English Patient was terminally boring. Keep that thought in mind – it’s a lot funnier than anything in Toni Erdmann.

A New Documentary Shows the Extent and Nature of Anti-Zionist ‘Hate Spaces’ on Campus by Jeffrey Barken

Americans for Peace and Tolerance’s (APT) new documentary, Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus, explores the roots of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement waged against Israel, and reveals the mob mentality that characterizes antisemitic student groups on college campuses across the US.https://www.algemeiner.com/2016/12/26/a-new-documentary-shows-the-extent-and-nature-of-anti-zionist-hate-spaces-on-campus/

The 70-minute film strikes a nerve, and an emotional punch.

Authenticated cell-phone videos and recorded interviews transport viewers to hate-crime scenes where Jewish students are subjected to verbal and physical abuse, and are intimidated even by college professors and administrators.

British singer George Michael, who became one of the pop idols of the 1980s with Wham! and then forged a…

This is not a propaganda film about the Middle East conflict, Avi Goldwasser, the documentary’s executive producer, tells JNS.org. It is strictly “a film about what’s happening on campus,” he says.

Indeed, recent events at schools like Northeastern University in Boston deserve scrutiny. On that campus, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) protesters have chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the state of Israel has got to go!” Statues of Jewish donors have been vandalized, while cruel sticker campaigns and “apartheid walls” are used to single out and shame individual Jewish students regardless of their opinions about Israel.

In April 2013, Northeastern University SJP activists stormed into a classroom and interrupted a Holocaust memorial service. “The lessons of the Holocaust were not learned, you are child murderers,” SJP members are caught shouting on camera. Going beyond Northeastern, Hate Spaces tours the country, revealing a long list of hotspots where the BDS movement is spiraling out of control.

The rigid ideology of BDS

A quote from George Packer’s 2011 New Yorker article, “Deepest Cuts,” gets to the core of what is wrong with BDS: “Ideology knows the answer before the question has been asked.” The scenes depicted in the documentary clearly demonstrate that a rigid ideology has taken hold of BDS supporters on college campuses. Groups like SJP use megaphones to shout their rallying slogans, but adherents are fundamentally uninterested in engaging in a serious, civil debate with anyone who questions their self-proclaimed righteous position.

APT is a Boston-based non-profit whose stated mission is to advocate for “peaceful coexistence and tolerance in an ethnically diverse America.” According to Goldwasser, Hate Spaces is geared at engaging “decent people in America who would look at an indecent situation … and understand the obvious unfairness.”

“No other minority group would stand for such treatment on campus,” Goldwasser says of Jewish students’ plight.

Hate Spaces meticulously charts the flow of money from dictators in Muslim countries to American universities, suggesting that this transfer of capital buttresses support for Islamic causes among academics. Devoid of intellectual integrity, professors choose a path of least resistance when discussing Israel and the Palestinian territories, and are unfairly sympathetic to the BDS agenda. The result is a classroom where one side of the debate is permitted to demonize the other, and pro-Israel students are systematically denied a voice.

Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus A new film exposes academic Jew-Hatred . Andrew Harrod

“Today on American college campuses, there is only one group of students that you are allowed to attack and you can attack at will, and those are Jews,” states the narrator in the new film Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus. This latest production from Americans for Peace & Tolerance, the makers of the J Street Challenge, engagingly examines how demonization of Israel’s Jewish state is reviving anti-Semitism in American academia.

Hate Spaces extensively documents what has become a nationwide campus “hostile environment” for Jews, according to Susan Tuchman from the Zionist Organization of America. Student signs at colleges like Columbia University appear in the film with statements such as “Israel is a swollen parasite…the Jews: Too fat…Too greedy…Too powerful…Fight the Jewish mafia.”

Quoted in Hate Spaces, University of California (UC)-Los Angeles Hillel President Natalie Charney notes an “anti-Israel culture” in which “singling out the only Jewish state creates an environment where it’s ok to single out Jewish students.” The film focuses on one of Israel’s main campus adversaries, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a leading supporter of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel with deep links to the Muslim Brotherhood. The film notes SJP members chanting “Allahu Akbar” to celebrate the nonbinding 2013 UC-San Diego student council decision for BDS and a SJP chapter president’s 2010 assault upon a Jewish UC-Berkeley student.

Former SJP member and current “pro-Israeli Muslim” Rezwan Ovo Haq notes that “SJP largely masquerades behind the human rights issue” of support Palestinians as part of a broader human rights agenda. Yet in SJP he was “slandering Israel and I had deep-seated hatred for Israel.” Corresponding to this ugly reality, a University of Tennessee SJP member once tweeted: “What is the difference between a Jew and a pizza? The pizza leaves the oven.”

Eminent law professor Alan Dershowitz notes in a film interview that “antisemitism used to come mostly from the right, now it’s coming mostly from the hard left.” Hereby “one of the strangest alliances on university campuses today is between the hard left” of minorities like blacks and Islamist groups like SJP. Accordingly, San Diego State University student journalist Anthony Berteaux discusses once identifying with SJP as a gay, Asian man.

Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens wonders at such leftwing “useful idiots of the twenty-first century.” “Why is it that the liberals and progressives who espouse a certain set of values are so intent on demonizing and de-legitimatizing the one country that shares their values” in the Middle East, he asks. By contrast, past African-American civil rights leaders such as W.E.B Dubois, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Bayard Rustin “have been Zionists, from socialists to liberals to conservatives,” notes African-American Zionist Chloe Valdary.

Faux progressive condemnation of Israel, Dershowitz notes, arises largely because “there is no subject today in the world which has more distortion, more lies, more dissembling, than discussion about Israel.” Hate Spaces shows women from Israel’s Arab minority joining Israel’s parliament and winning the Miss Israel beauty contest, belying a sign in the film condemning Israel as the “Fourth Reich. During speaking engagements, Dershowitz challenges listeners “to name a single country in the history of the world faced with threats comparable to those threats faced by Israel both internal and external that have had a better record of human rights.”

Joe Morgentern‘Silence’ Review: Torturous Tests of Faith Martin Scorsese’s film follows two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries who travel to Japan in the 17th century

In the filmmaking world a passion project can be prompted by anything from cherished books first read in childhood to obscure oddities that no one wanted to finance. Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” redefines the category. It’s a film that Mr. Scorsese has wanted to make for almost three decades, and passion is its subject—the spiritual passion of two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries who travel to Japan in the 17th century to find their mentor, a priest believed to be an apostate, and living as a Japanese with a Japanese wife. This is filmmaking as an act of devotion, and exploration—not just of the nature of faith but of faith’s obverse, abject doubt. The production is physically beautiful, and evokes the beauties of classic Japanese films, but the substance makes few concessions to conventional notions of entertainment. What the missionaries endure at the hands of their Japanese tormentors—torture, isolation and more torture—is almost unendurably violent, and, at a running time of 161 minutes, punishingly repetitive.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo; Jay Cocks and the director wrote the screenplay. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver are the missionaries, Rodrigues and Garrpe. Their performances are obviously not meant to be entertaining, and never venture into so much as the outskirts of enjoyable. But they’re notable, all the same, for their intensity and focus—two modern movie stars giving themselves over entirely to roles that require steadfast self-effacement. (Liam Neeson is Ferreira, the mentor they seek.)

And though “Silence” is obviously not a genre film in the usual sense, the story functions as a search, or trackdown, if you will, through fascinating territory—and across land- and seascapes photographed with quiet elegance by Rodrigo Prieto. The feudal Japan that the missionaries discover is a savage place where Christianity is seen as something akin to the plague, an alien infestation to be stamped out wherever it’s discovered, and always by the same methods—threats of death, backed up by pitiless torture, that force Christians into public displays of apostasy. And the Christianity that Rodrigues and Garrpe discover is, as Mr. Scorsese portrays it, a re-enactment of the origins of the faith, with secret gatherings of congregants in caves. CONTINUE AT SITE

Patriots Day Rises to the Occasion Two new films show surprising respect for history. By Armond White

Peter Berg’s Patriots Day, about the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing, combines action-movie flash with commemorative-movie solemnity. Surprisingly, the competing genres even each other out: Neither insultingly exploitative nor piously dignified, it is a nearly ideal example of pop-art historical filmmaking.

Berg’s directorial career has been the opposite of illustrious (junk like The Kingdom, Hancock, and Battlefield), but in Patriots Day, the former Hollywood actor shows a serviceable grasp of American vernacular. He depicts the devastating events as the story of tough-talking ethnic community — a vulgar and crude but also a unifying story — without ever succumbing to the sanctimony implied by the title.

Given the title’s plural noun, Berg covers a lot of ground and brings together a variety of Americans, starting with brash Boston street cop, Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), who was reluctantly on duty at the Marathon. Berg extends the perspective to Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese of Watertown (J. K. Simmons), M.I.T.–assigned police officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking), and FBI agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon). Fanning out, the story accumulates a range of civilians, two with contrasting immigrant backgrounds: Chinese immigrant engineer Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang), whose Mercedes-Benz gets car-jacked by the Chechen-immigrant Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff), while they’re on the run after having committed the bombing.

Through these characters (named after the real-life people), Patriots Day sketches home-grown radicalization and terror as undeniably linked with our contemporary culture of diversity. It is the simple yet vivid characterizations that distinguish Berg’s storytelling from Michael Bay’s fanboy fantasy history in Pearl Harbor (2001) and from the seditious nihilism in Day Night Day Night, Julia Loktev’s 2006 suicide-bomber indie movie. The tense rivalry between the Tsarnaev brothers gives us unexpected insight into ethnic and family tradition and the pressures of both radicalization and assimilation. Patriots Day provides the closest look so far into ethnic terrorism’s feral authority.

We first see Tamerlan as he is shaving off his tribal beard, preparing for war; he dominates both his wife (radicalized American Katherine Russell, played by Melissa Benoist) and his younger brother. Dzhokhar’s twisted sense of entitlement points to the irony of American youths’ radicalization. When Tamerlan decrees, “Martin Luther King was not a Muslim, he was a hypocrite, a fornicator,” Dzhokhar retorts, “I’m a fornicator” — a defense of the dorm-room pot-smoking, video-gaming style that eventually won him a place on a Rolling Stone magazine cover. Berg parallels Dzhokhar’s hip sensibility with Officer Collier’s courtship of an Asian-American girl and his video-game recreation with friends, white guys from Boston who recite the rap interlude of Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” (“Better watch out for the boys in blue!”), a different yet equally complex kind of rebellion.

Hollywood often seems unfamiliar with such common American types, but Berg knows them. This is his fourth film with Wahlberg, who once again authentically portrays a working-man type. In Wahlberg’s hot-tempered Saunders, vulgarity becomes an ethnic, class, and psychological trait, the mark of his character. When among the elites at the FBI’s command-center re-creation of the bomb site, Saunders’s beat-cop acumen (he demonstrates what actors call “sense-memory”) serves the investigation.

Berg may have learned his craft from Tony Scott and the British TV-ad style of incessant montage and excitation — quick shots of bloody limbs mixed in with documentary footage and dramatized mayhem is sometimes aesthetically offensive. Yet this is the same craft that takes Patriots Day beyond the usual Hollywood procedural suspense and builds a captivating narrative about national allegiance, fortitude, and resolve. When the manhunt spreads beyond Boston, Berg’s action-movie bluntness takes on riveting purpose. Issues of class and professionalism come together wonderfully. (Saunders advises the FBI, “We got to let [the people of] Boston work for us” — an unimaginable idea for a less parochial town like, say, New York.) An especially excellent scene is the examination of the radicalized Tsarnaev wife by a police investigator (Khandi Alexander); their exchange has a political and sexual bravura worthy of Oliver Stone at his incendiary best.

In one clip, President Obama consoles, “This country shall remain undipped.” His Ivy League cadence and rhetorical sophistication are that of a leader who deludes the public. Berg’s vulgar panache shows a gutsy, nearly tactile respect for the people.