Lone Survivor (2013)
Directed by Peter Berg
Written by Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell, and Patrick Robinson
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana
On June 28th, 2005 the Navy SEAL team ten embarks on a mission in the rugged mountainous region of Afghanistan. Their target is the Taliban leader, Ahmad Shahd. This mission quickly spirals out of control, leading to deadly consequences.
In 2007, Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson published Lone Survivor, a novel based on the failed mission of SEAL team ten. Their book was adapted for this film by writer and director Peter Berg (The Kingdom). Berg went to great lengths to ensure accuracy in his films. He invited Luttrell to live with him for a time as the two worked on the timeline of events. Later Berg was also embedded with a SEAL team in Iraq, seeking to understand the dynamics. Through this experience and the almost unlimited access he had to information from the military, Berg was able to expertly recreate the events of the failed mission. Berg’s efforts, and the efforts of the other people involved in this film are evident from the start.
The cast of this movie features a number of popular stars. This includes Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter), Taylor Kitsch (Savages), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Ben Foster (Rampart), and Eric Bana (Black Hawk Down). This movie asked a lot from the main characters in the film. The film had the added pressure of remaining true to the story and the people involved. Wahlberg was at his best in this film, really pulling from the emotion of the events being portrayed. The men around him were equally good, really bringing the chemistry of the SEAL team to life.
The action in this film is intense and brutal. There is a graphic nature to this film that comes from the attempt to truthfully recreate the events being portrayed. The stunt work and special effects are incredible. Throughout the film there doesn’t seem to be any attempt to impress the audience with fiery explosions and flying bodies. This movie really embraced a reality that works with the emotion of the film.
I think it’s important to look at the reality of films like this. There are real people behind this story. I’m glad to see that those people were closely involved in making this film. The stars of the film, as well as the director were in close contact with experts as well as the people who had lived this. This comes through in a number of ways, making this a very powerful experience.
Every couple of years a film comes out that’s hard to enjoy. This isn’t to say that these films aren’t wonderfully made, but that the subject matter isn’t placed out there to be enjoyable. Films like Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and 12 Years a Slave have fit into this category. Lone Survivor should also be placed on that list. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Good review Jeff. It wasn’t the biggest piece of propaganda I had ever seen, as it paid more attention to the actual soldiers involved, rather than the actual war they were fighting. Something I didn’t expect to see from less-than-subtle Peter Berg.
Yeah, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think it was done to avoid politics as much as possible. Thanks for reading! I always appreciate the insight of the people who check out my writing.