By: Handsome Rob
Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Battleship) brings to life a gripping tale and mission in Afghanistan of four Navy SEALs in the film Lone Survivor. During the opening credits of the film, the audience is introduced to video footage of Navy SEAL training videos, which will not only help lay out the personalities of the four-man SEAL team but toy with your mind – regardless of how you feel about war.
The team, led by Lt. Michael P. “Murph” Murphy (Taylor Kitsch) is sent to capture or kill a Taliban leader during the War in Afghanistan. Joining him are SO2 Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), SO2 Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and SO2 Matthew “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster). Their mission becomes a long string of bad luck: communications go down with the base; they’re discovered and later massively outnumbered.
The film did a fantastic job on a few levels. First, the film did remarkable work to create the feel for how incredibly difficult a mission like this would be under their circumstances. Imagine, four guys against a small army. And the small army is the home team, knowing the lay of the land best. Berg brings to life the personalities of each individual character, but it doesn’t seem over the top. This is shown during the scene where they capture goat herders. SO2 Axelson and SO2 Dietz see the necessity to kill the herders because if they must survive, it’s their best option. SO2 Luttrell sees killing them as violating war terms and doesn’t see it as a good PR move if everything goes well. The tense moment gives the audience a moment to understand each character on a more personal level.
What was missing from the film was a deeper sense of brotherhood the group had for each other. They all enjoyed each other, but it seemed the camaraderie between them was shallower than I had hoped. While at base camp, they talked about marriages, wedding gifts, and paint colors, but I never got the sense of deep brotherhood like I would imagine actually takes place.
This film definitely will make you appreciate and respect what our past, present and future men and women who serve in the military have done, are doing, and will do to protect our country. Berg did a fantastic job of letting the viewer see the hardships these people can go through. Lone Survivor is a true wartime film and one that many will enjoy, even if their heart is hurting a little after the movie.
Rotten Tomatoes (as of 1/14/14): Critics: 73%, Audience 89%