Cinematic Releases: Lone Survivor

This harrowing tale of "Operation Red Wings" and SEAL Team 10 is one of the most tense, visceral and emotionally disturbing films of 2013. 

The true story of Marcus Luttrell and his military brothers is brought to the screen in vivid detail with some of the best looking, most realistic gun play to date. Lone Survivor sets you down in the middle of the action and never lets up until audiences are air lifted by a heart wrenching photo montage of the real life soldiers that led this mission.

Some might view Lone Survivor as slanted pro-war, pro-American propaganda, but in my opinion this was a multi-faceted modern military presentation built upon the human dynamic and the defining factors that can drastically effect the outcome in an already dire situation.  If anything, Lone Survivor is not for the faint of heart. This movie will have you hiding your eyes, turning your head, and teetering on the edge of your seat while you're given a first hand look inside the violent and sometimes heartbreaking life of a Navy SEAL.

Lone Survivor is an experience, not just a typical run of the mill action flick. The perfectly paced and hyper realistic action sequences give you a virtual sense of what it would be like to be involved in an anti-terrorist expedition and the possible awful outcome when it all goes south.

"Say hello to your mother
for me."
Lone Survivor is (in a sense) a return to form for director Peter Berg and probably his best film to date.  He hasn't done anything in the realm of Lone Survivor since his 2007 film, The Kingdom. In some aspects, Lone Survivor is extremely similar. The tone is set by Berg's skilled directorial efforts and his attentiveness to the minor details that makes Lone Survivor a true but slightly manipulative tribute to the men and women that serve in the U.S. military. Having never served in any branch, it was an eye opening experience to see this "true story" brought to the screen. Although we may not all agree on why our troops are in the middle east, Lone Survivor will make you realize the dedication put forth in an effort to defend our country.

The only gripe with Lone Survivor is its main star. Although Mark Wahlberg has the name recognition to carry a hit action movie, he falters in this role. He's not believable at all. He starts out strong but ends up falling back on old habits. By the half way mark, the stressed out, whispering Mark Wahlberg is back in full effect, dragging down the realism of his character, making Luttrell seem flat, dull and uninspired. With shades of Shooter and Contraband, it was too similar to everything he's done before. What could have finally turned Wahlberg into a verifiable dramatic star, ends up treading along through old familiar territory that we've seen him in time and time again. The lead role should have gone to Taylor Kitsch, who ends up being the best of this ensemble cast.

"Call us Funky Bunch
one more time......"
Some are going to beat this film down by claiming its a propaganda piece used to further the American war effort. Others are going to slam its over the top brutality and bloodshed. If you can accept Lone Survivor as an action film based on a true military exercise, you'll be able to enjoy the tense moments, the nearly non-stop gunfire, the explosions, and Peter Berg's effort to make the public understand the hell that our troops put themselves through. Lone Survivor is not a pretty picture but it sure is one of the best, most tension loaded movies of the year. For that we give it high marks.

-Review by Chris George