Act of Valor: A Soldier's Review
As a veteran, I am often critical about the portrayal of the military on Hollywood, often critiquing the details that get lost in translation or misrepresented, even if it is deliberate.
Little known fact: Current military standards are not allowed to be portrayed completely accurately. It's part of Force Protection, and if violated, the U.S. Military can SUE the studios.
Of course a film starring active duty Navy Seals based on actual events is gonna have to up the ante, as far as accuracy goes. Obviously, the main focus of the story is the extraordinary aspects of what the military does, but does a good job with humanizing and grounding the characters without going to the larger than life extreme.
I liked the interspersing of normal actors with the actual military was a good contrast. I was also impressed with the accurate special effects when it came to things like explosives, subverting some of the military tropes prevalent in in many military movies, past and present, especially when it comes to grenades and explosives. I know the inclination is to go all Mythbusters, and blow the ever loving shit out of something to make it more epic, but the epic for this movie is built into the reality that they are walking through. OUR reality.
Having a look at behind the scenes of any sort of Special Operations Command is always awesome. The peek behind the curtain for the general public might generate a bit more goodwill and understanding towards the Armed Forces, especially when they end end up going somewhere in the world the the general public doesn't agree with. They follow orders, they might not like it, or agree with it, but they do it. End of story.
Walking the line in this movie between reality and dramatization was very effective, and successful, and is overall a heartening and emotional experience. There should be more movies in the world like this. The tales of truth and heart, heroism and sacrifice, patriotism and family, be they blood or not. These are the tales that need to be told, the stories shared and illuminated.