Valdosta Daily Times


January 21, 2014

‘Lone Survivor’ is a heroic tale

VALDOSTA — “Lone Survivor” (Action/Biography: 2 hours, 1 minute)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster

Director: Peter Berg

Rated: R (Violence, profanity, gore and thematic elements)

Movie Review: Based on the book by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson, this photoplay chronicles the attempts of four men to stay alive after their mission to capture or kill notorious al Qaida leader Ahmad Shahd in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province is compromised. June 2005, Lt. Michael Murphy (Kitsch), Luttrell (Wahlberg), Danny Dietz (Hirsch) and Matt “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster) encounter three mountain herders. They capture the Afghans, but they decide to let them go. Within no time, Ahmad Shahd’s men are pursuing the four military men through the forests of a mountainous terrain. The Navy SEALs must fight to survive.

Peter Berg’s script is one long running gunfight with plenty of heroics, too. While the gunfight scenes are graphic, excessive at points and make up most of the film, they are a neat outlook into the brave work men and women in uniform perform everyday. That is most notable here.

The film also shows the brotherhood of four men in an amazing manner. They suffer bullet wounds, fractures from falling from high cliffs and other bruises, yet they mange to continue fighting and supporting each other. This association is unique. Too bad, the film did not delve deeper into this form of patriotism. Their commitment to each other and their mission are intriguing.

Middle Easterners have become the new Russians in films as the evil doers. However, this film shows that honorable people exist everywhere. Marcus Luttrell owes his life to an Afghan man and his village that protected the wounded soldier at the expense of their lives and property. This is a very potent part of the film. More scenes like this would be nice. As an alternative, the film jumps back to gunfight scenes that supposedly did not happen, according to Luttrell.

“Lone Survivor” takes a number of liberties with Luttrell’s and Robinson’s book, but it remains a worthy film. It is heavy on detailing a story in the sense of getting from A to B, while missing moments that could make it more personable. The film misses some key dramatic moments at this point. Director-writer Berg should have taken a few more liberties to make the fictional moments he added more dramatic at least.

Still, it inspires in a natural manner that works well. Stay through the end credits for pictures of the actual people involved and more of their amazing story.  

 Grade: B (Courage, duty and honor are all present and worthy.)

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