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review by Bobby Blakey

Sadly there have been so many terrorist attacks on our country over the last few years that it has become almost common place which is tragic on so many levels. This has also spawned various films focusing on these events from different angles. In 2016 the film Patriot’s Day focused in on the hunt for the Boston Marathon bomber and all those involved. This was only one side of the story and the latest film from director David Gordon Green, Stronger starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Miranda Richardson, and Clancy Brown sets out to tell the story of one of the survivors of the bombing, but is it able to bring this powerful story to life or will it fail to take the proper steps forward?

Stronger follows the inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become a symbol of hope after surviving the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. This is obviously not an action packed story, but instead one of emotion and inspiration that unintentionally serves as a perfect companion film to the other one for me. Jake Gyllenhaal has been on a real role lately with his film choices with each better than the last with this one easily being the best yet. He is forced to showcase so many different emotions and limitations both mentally and physically to make you believe his character. I knew going in it was going to be a heavy film, but the depth of struggle they showcase was so much more than I expected.

The rest of the cast here is great as well, but it is Gyllenhaal that carries this film on his shoulders and fully realizes the horrible things this man had to go through. I loved that his struggles were showcased outside of jus the physical of the injuries, but the trauma he suffered mentally as people rarely think about these things when watching these stories and interviews unfold. The sheer power of the performances here make this a great movie, but the effects to make it work physically are just as amazing.

While watching the making of the film it was insanely awesome to learn how many of the people in the film were the real life people that worked on or with Bauman during this ordeal. This added the perfect realism that immerses you fully into this story in way that you just can’t ignore. This movie perfectly captures this story in my opinion and Gyllenhaal’s performance might be the best of his career which is saying a lot given his recent roles. Grab your tissues and witness the other side of the bombing with Stronger available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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