Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Yousuf Azami, Jerry Ferrara
Directed by: Peter Berg
Synopsis: Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.
I’ll get this out the way straight away. If you’re not a fan of the chest-thumpingly patriotic way that Americans like to portray their soldiers, then this film is probably not going to be your cup of tea. Right from the beginning credits, which is more like an advertisement for the Navy SEALS than the start of a film, you know that ‘togetherness’, ‘brothers’ and ‘machismo’ will be high on the agenda. But, for the large part Lone Survivor is actually very, very good.
It tells the true story of a small team of soldiers who are dropped in to the Afghan forests to find Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. Their plan is some what scuppered when some goat herders stumble upon their location. The herders are quickly held captive whilst the team decide what to do. Ultimately, they decide the right thing to do is cut the captives loose and await a team to come and pick them up, mission compromised. This doesn’t go to plan though, as they find themselves under fire from a whole Taliban army. It’s fair to say, from the title, that not all of the team make it back to base. But they give it a hell of a go anyway.
The film is best when it is showing, in presumably accurate detail, the close quarters fire fights between the soldiers and the Taliban fighters. There are some rather bone crushing, bruising falls down mountain sides that show in slo-mo detail people crashing into rocks and trees. These are a tad over used in my opinion, and took away from the serious drama, turning it more into an action movie.
Which leads me on to the ending of the film. I’m not going to spoil anything specifically, but the film seemed to veer from authentic military movie to a typical action movie at the end. By that I mean, the bad guys come in and, instead of killing our hero with a shot to the head, they have to have a fist fight first. I thought that was a bit of a cop out ending.
The acting from Wahlberg and co was good throughout the film, although there weren’t a tremendous amount of moments for them to add any great emotion to their roles, they were thrown straight into the action, which was fine because it was that sort of movie, but I didn’t feel particularly close to any of the characters. This wasn’t helped by the fact that all of them looked pretty much the same (beards and combat gear).
I can’t complain too much about the little stuff though because Lone Survivor kept me riveted and entertained throughout the film. And made me glad I’m not crazy enough (or fit, or strong or dedicated or disciplined enough) to join the military!