Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lone Survivor - Movie Review

Lone Survivor is based on the actual events chronicled in the best selling novel of the same name written by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. The movie was directed by Peter Berg and stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster.

In June of 2005, Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd was located and targeted by U.S. military forces. Hiding out with what was reported to be a small escort at a camp deep in Afghanistan, Shahd was determined to be a priority target for capture or elimination. On June 28th, four members of SEAL team 10 are sent on a recon mission to gather intelligence in preparation of a larger mission to bring down the Taliban leader. After a run in with and capture of a family sympathetic to the Taliban cause, the team has a choice to make that may turn an otherwise routine mission into an all out fight for survival.

There are so many war movies that look to glorify the experience and create larger than life heroes who rise to the challenge and save everyone from impending doom without a single scratch on their helmet. You will also find movies like Saving Private Ryan and Platoon that show just how real and terrifying the true nature of war can be. Lone Survivor definitely falls into the latter category as Peter Berg puts the audience right in to the middle of every gut wrenching scene. What magnifies this even more is knowing that this amazing story of bravery and sacrifice is based on a very true story.

Over his career Peter Berg has been inconsistent at best with an emphasis on flashy action pictures that tend to be more style than substance. For Berg to be able to turn the corner and create a movie as raw and powerful as this one was a very welcome surprise and his emotional attachment to the story really came across on the screen. What I was most impressed with was how real this movie felt and how it just instantly throws you right into the middle of story. Thanks to an opening photo and video montage, you are instantly connected to the real life people that this story is about and the tone is set perfectly for the heroic and tragic events that are about to unfold.

There are lots of people out there that like to make lists and rank movies within genres or categories and I imagine Lone Survivor will be mentioned favorably when it comes to the higher echelon of war movies. For me, this was not only a very intense and entertaining film, but it was also a beautifully done homage to the bravery that exists among the men and women who are tasked to defend our country and the freedoms that it stands for.


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