The film is based on the 2007 nonfiction book of the same name by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. Set during the War in Afghanistan, the film dramatizes the failed United States Navy SEALs mission Operation Red Wings, in which a four-man SEAL reconnaissanceteam was tasked to track Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.
At its core, Lone Survivor is an American war film. The team members are heroes, the Taliban are enemies, and the heroes are able to fight on like in video games or movies. For the opening 40 minutes, it is a somewhat cheesy show of soldiers bravado and training, but it works. Incorporating real footage of the Navy Seals mixed with the actors lets viewers feel for the real life persons and their portrayed characters in the film. Soon after though, they are dropped into enemy territory on an operation to take out a Taliban leader. The mission goes awry when they encounter a small group of locals there, and they are faced with the decision of killing them and letting go. From here, the intensity begins to climb. What is the right thing to do? What would you do? Faced with that moral situation, they decide to cut them loose – soon after, Taliban forces are hot on their tail.
The next 40 minutes or so are an action-packed, non-stop brutal war scene. Tension builds as a scope lines up with an enemy head. The shot is fired, blood flies, and the chase begins. With an abundance of slow- mo shots, clear close-ups of kills and wounds, the excellent direction and cinematography provide a painful journey that makes you cringe or tear up the same as the four soldiers. And all of these men in the film play their roles greatly. Just listing them off – Walhberg tough as usual, Hirsch strong and vulnerable, Kitsch pulling off the difficult decisions as leader, and Foster frighteningly embodying cold but caring.
These forty minutes of intensity must be attributed to the whole team and crew though. Beyond the camera work and editing, much of the scenes work well because of the locations, the costuming, the painful makeup and design for all the wounds, the typical and tacky war-epic music. The writing and delivery of lines keep the pacing quick and engaging.
Regardless of the how the majority of the movie is taken, the conclusion of the film is a nice touch and shows – even with the bloody action and cheesiness – what the film’s really about: giving the story of these men who served the country.
Based on a true story – that is the most haunting part of this film. From the title and story itself, audiences already know what the inevitable ending will be, but through the determination of the four brothers, you can’t help but hope for a change in their fates.
Lone Survivor, while it can be perceived as more American propaganda, still gives a brutal yet touching look at this journey of four brothers through war.
5 templar crosses out of 5
Directed by Peter Berg
Produced by Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Randall Emmett, Norton Herrick, Barry Spikings, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Vitaly Grigoriants
Written by Peter Berg
Based on Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson
Mark Wahlberg Taylor Kitsch
Emile Hirsch Ben Foster
Music by Explosions in the Sky (Steve Jablonsky)
Cinematography Tobias Schliessler
Editing by Colby Parker Jr.
PICTURED FAR RIGHT is Marcus Luttrell the author and REAL Lone Survivor of Operation Red Wings with fellow members of Seal Team 10 who lost their lives during the Operation.
TEMPLAR DIGITAL — @TEMPLARDIGITAL