Military/war movies are hit and miss and usually get mixed responses from audiences mostly in regards to the military reality. With Lone Survivor they promoted the movie using not only a traditional trailer, but mixed it with a behind the scenes aspect making sure the audience knew the realism behind it all and had the chance to meet real life Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell. The trailer and story appeared to be something powerful and unique, but does it manage to stand out as much as it had hoped?
Lone Survivor follows a Navy Seal team who set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious al Qaeda leader, in late June 2005. After running into mountain herders and capturing them, they were left with no choice but to follow their rules of engagement or be imprisoned. Now they are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare. Director Peter Berg has crafted one of the best military themed films in some time. The brilliant promotional strategy gave it just the feel you need to immerse yourself in the story. The opening credits set the tone with a montage of Navy Seal training gives you an understanding of not only what these guys go through to become a Seal, but also the kind of people they are. It then gives you a brief glimpse of their personal relationships to set everything up and understand their brotherhood and then sends you out on the mission that will change their lives forever. It’s rare that a film can inject such long ongoing action pieces and not wear out quickly, but here it not only keeps you on the edge of your seat it actually makes you feel like you are watching it actually happen. There are moments that will make you actually twitch in your seat from the pain they endured and make it really hit home.
The stellar cast including Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, and Jerry Ferrara all give their all to bring this amazingly tragic story to life. The real heavy lifting comes from Wahlberg, Kitsch, Hirsch, and Foster who all bring such a wide range of emotions and charisma to the roles that you connect with them on some level instantly and become concerned with what is happening to them. While it’s Wahlberg who is the face of the story and does and amazing job, it’s Taylor Kitsch who leads the charge for most of the movie delivering an amazing performance as well. There was a lot of detail laid in here that makes it work so much better and that includes the graphic nature of the violence. While it’s not horror-esque gore, there is a lot of blood as expected with a couple of scenes that are pretty graphic.
The biggest surprise came with the elements of the film you do not really see in the trailer involving not only the incredibly hard decisions they have to make on the fly, but also the heroic nature of others in the country and not just the evil portrayal of those they were fighting against. Major props go out to Marcus Luttrell for not only what he has done for this country, but for what had to be painful to see these events come to life all over again all just to tell the story of these brave men. After the film ends you are left with this powerful feeling of sadness and pride knowing what these guys did, but Berg thrusts one last jab at you with another montage showing respect for those lost in this mission once again making sure the viewer doesn’t forget that this is more than just another movie.