‘Marathon’ ex­am­ines a ter­ror­ist tragedy

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FIFTY PLUS - By Rob Low­man South­ern Cal­i­for­nia News Group

The HBO doc­u­men­tary “Marathon: The Pa­tri­ots Day Bomb­ing” looks be­yond sim­ply re­count­ing the events of ter­ror­ist at­tack at the 2013 Bos­ton Marathon bomb­ings.

The event re­ceives im­mense cov­er­age ev­ery year in Mas­sachusetts and draws thou­sands of run­ners and sup­port­ers as well as fans. So there was plenty of film, both pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur, that caught the at­tack and the bloody chaos that en­sued.

Also cap­tured was the quick ac­tion of first re­spon­ders and self­less acts of or­di­nary cit­i­zens to try to save the lives of the in­jured. What most of us never saw, though, was how the vic­tims dealt with their life-chang­ing wounds.

One of them was Celeste Cor­co­ran who — with her hus­band, Kevin, daugh­ter Syd­ney, and son Tyler — was at the fin­ish line to watch Celeste’s sis­ter fin­ish the race.

Celeste lost both legs. Syd­ney’s femoral artery sev­ered. Her life was saved when a mil­i­tary vet­eran, who had seen bat­tle, in­serted his hand into the wound and squeezed off the artery. Bos­ton Globe pho­tog­ra­pher John Tlumacki took a picture of the mo­ment that was reprinted in news­pa­pers around the world.

Tlumacki gained fame for the photo, but wanted to know what hap­pened to the vic­tims he pho­tographed. The HBO film, which was pro­duced in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Bos­ton Globe, fol­lows the

Cor­co­ran fam­ily as Celeste strug­gles to learn to walk with ar­ti­fi­cial legs while

Syd­ney be­comes de­pressed and de­vel­ops an eat­ing dis­or­der. Her father be­gins to drink.

The film from Ricki Stern and An­nie Sund­berg also fol­lows new­ly­weds Jes­sica Ken­sky and

Pa­trick Downes. They were avid run­ners them­selves. He lost a leg. She lost a leg, too, and her other is maimed. As time goes on, Jes­sica is con­fronted with the specter of los­ing her sec­ond leg. Though not in

the mil­i­tary, they both end up at Wal­ter Reed National Mil­i­tary Med­i­cal Cen­ter for spe­cial treat­ment. There, the two are ac­cepted by the wounded vet­er­ans, who see them as ca­su­al­ties of war, too.

Mean­while, the film dips into the man­hunt for ter­ror­ists broth­ers Dzhokhar and Tamer­lan Tsar­naev that gripped the na­tion but doesn’t spend much time on the shootout that killed Tamer­lan and the cap­ture of Dzhokhar. Pre­sum­ably, “Pa­tri­ots Day,” the up­com­ing Mark Wahlberg movie about the bomb­ings, will dig into that.

The HBO doc­u­men­tary also touches on the ques­tion of whether to ex­e­cute Tamer­lan Tsar­naev, who was found guilty on mul­ti­ple counts.

While “Marathon” doesn’t delve into com­plic­i­ties of geopol­i­tics of the events, ul­ti­mately, it is af­fect­ing as a story of per­se­ver­ance. You can’t help but ad­mire the strength of those who lost limbs and had their lives ir­re­versibly al­tered.

But we are also re­minded about those who didn’t sur­vive, and it’s to them that the film is ded­i­cated.


A scene from the HBO doc­u­men­tary “Marathon: The Pa­tri­ots Day Bomb­ing.”


A scene from the HBO doc­u­men­tary “Marathon: The Pa­tri­ots Day Bomb­ing.”

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