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Movie Review – LONE SURVIVOR

Movie Review – LONE SURVIVOR

Lone Survivor (2013)
Release Date: 10 January 2014 (USA)
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster

Directed By Peter Berg
Written By Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell, Patrick Robinson

Rated R, 121 min, Action, Biography, Drama

“Lone Survivor” may be a painful reminder of a war’s harrowing nature, but it is exactly this essence in which the film’s bravura lies. Graphic but real! – Beau Behan 3 out of 4 stars


“Lone Survivor” limns the acts of valor bursting into bloodcurdling sounds of sad adieus and images of horrific tragedy.
The film begins with all that grit, stamina, endurance and perseverance being rendered through the scenes of Navy SEAL training. Suddenly, its tone shifts with a searing portrayal of a wounded soldier, Chief Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg). His gazing eyes now flitter, and the movie flashes back to the days of splendid normalcy, before a platoon of U.S. Special Forces lost their lives on the 28th of June, 2005.
Adapted from Luttrell’s memoir, “The Eyewitness Account Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL TEAM 10, published in 2007, Peter Berg helms the film’s direction.
A group of Navy seals, Dietz (Emile Hirsch), Axelson (Ben Foster), Murphy (Taylor Kitsch) and Luttrell (Wahlberg) are sent on a mission in the perfidious province of Kunar, and their objective is to gather information on an al-Qaeda member who has been successful in atrociously killing American soldiers. Feeling acclimated to Kunar’s perilous slopes, the unit decides to rest for some moments of peace and quiet, but not for long, as three goat herders meander towards them.

The next act is a depiction of moral dilemma amongst the men, and the perplexity sits on the grounds of the military’s rules of engagement. If ethics were to prevail, the moral compass would point towards releasing the three herders. On the other hand, there exist also its serious and deadly consequences. What could be ethically correct is not necessarily the best choice to pick inasmuch as their lives are concerned. The film’s title is the answer to this vexing question.
Berg’s direction focuses on images of graphic realism, and the audience will be immersed in emotional twitches to feel the agonizing pain that these men had to endure. Roll they would over the rocky slopes to dodge the bullets, and so would the audience gasping for air. Berg makes it a compelling case that not only do we need to feel their struggles, but also, to appreciate and honor their acts of bravery.
The actors’ performances are viscerally effective. We laugh and cry with them. Simply put, we reflect and feel what they emote.
What I found to be unpleasant in the movie is its inclusion of product placement. Do we need to see the manufacturer’s label of the Special Forces’ communication equipment twice, and the label of the underpants—three times—that Luttrell was supposedly wearing during combat?
“Lone Survivor” may be a painful reminder of a war’s harrowing nature, but it is exactly this essence in which the film’s bravura lies.
3 out of 4 stars

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