Review: Lone Survivor
Lone Survivor is a true story based off of the non-fiction book written by Marcus Luttrell, a former United States Navy SEAL, who gives a telling of his first hand experience on a mission known as Operation Red Wings. In this operation they were tasked with the mission of taking out a high ranking officer who was believed to be working with Osama Bin Laden. While there is plenty of scenes detailing the inevitable gunfight between the Navy SEALs and the Taliban, but the film focuses more on the brotherhood between these man and how they would fight for each other and live for each other. It is a brutal tale but despite how brutal it is, it still has plenty of heart thanks to the direction under Peter Berg and the chemistry between actors.
The plot follows the four man Navy SEAL group doing a reconnaissance mission that would end with their killing or capturing of a Taliban leader. The four man group consists of on-ground team leader Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster), and Danny Dietz (Emilie Hirsch). The team is inserted into the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan, where they trek through the mountains overlooking a village where the Taliban leader is. Upon hiding out in the woods, the SEAL teammates are discovered by an elderly shepherd and two teenage goat herders. The group fights over how to handle the situation as the operation is now compromised, and Luttrell is greatly against the idea of killing the innocent. Eventually, their leader decides to let them go and try their luck climbing up the peak of the mountain to radio for help. However, as they let go of the herders one of them hurries to tell the Taliban of the Americans up on the peak. Shortly after the SEAL teammates find themselves surrounded by Taliban and in one hell of a gun fight.
While the gun fight did last a good portion of the fight, it never seemed excessive as what really stood out was that of the brotherhood between these men. It is a story about men coming together for each other and putting aside their separate egos, which in today's society can always be a challenge for us all. Due to this, the film had plenty of heart and above that it forced you to root for these men and hope that they all would make it out. However, we know the film is named Lone Survivor, but somehow that doesn't stop the audience from hoping to see everyone make it out alive. Peter Berg does a terrific job behind the camera and always manages to film things in realistic way which helps this film immensely. The film also forces us to have a deeper appreciation for our armed forces, which had to have been Berg's main focus of the film as well as telling Luttrell's story.
It is also fascinating to know how committed these actors were to the project. Berg had approached all four of them years ago with this project in mind for them all. Obviously, Berg had worked with Kitsch before on the television series Friday Night Lights and then the blockbuster flop Battleship, but these four actors had a tremendous chemistry together. It helps that they have previously worked together on other films but also that they trained with armed forces to make the film more convincing. Taylor Kitsch did a terrific job in the role of Micheal Murphy and truly embodied what it means to be a leader and I can only hope that this will help his career going forward as he has a hard time up until this point while still being a terrific actor. Mark Wahlberg, of course, did a good job as well as these are the kind of films he truly excels at. He has a great range and it is used well in this film. Ben Foster and Emilie Hirsch also do a great job in their roles and are believable having never really done an action film of this magnitude. Overall, it is a great film with a surprising amount of heart to it.