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Movie Review: Lone Survivor

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Prinz Lee wrote this review 4 years and 1 month ago

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Considering its subject-matter, lack of plot or award-winning-performances is excusable. Other than that…DAMN! It’s brutal and violent, but deeply engaging.

Whether fictional, or based on true life events, war-based films always leave a dark mark within us. Sometimes deep and long considering how close art may be imitating life, especially if it’s a little too close to home. But one thing for sure is no matter how harsh, we feel the need to take in these films due to not only opening up to a cinematic scope of what it may look and/or feel like, but also to pay homage and respect to our troops who walk grounds of dangerous, unknown foreign soil for the purpose of protecting what we, as a nation, are all about.

Whether war is a necessary evil can be argued till we’re blue in the face. War is ugly. War is unpredictable. War is deadly (on both ends of the spectrum, because we cannot discount the innocent souls who pay a horrible price), but some say it serves a purpose. No matter what the cause, war-based classics like HAMBURGER HILL, PLATOON, APOCOLYPSE NOW, FULL METAL JACKET, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, BLACK HAWK DOWN and others I may have missed out on remain engraved in our brains and hearts as films that portray an ugly reality of what it costs us to live and breath the free air we inhale every day.


Joining the ranks of those I just mentioned is LONE SURVIVOR!

Directed by Peter Berg (a man familiar with war-based material (THE KINGDOM)), the New York Times bestselling true story of heroism, courage and survival, LONE SURVIVOR displays an incredible and unbelievable story of four Navy SEALs on a mission to hunt down a high-ranking Taliban operative, who along with his cronies, has killed U.S. Marines, hold a village hostage and seeks to continue his carnage at all cost throughout the roughness added by the unpredictable mountains of Afghanistan. As dire situations arise that can topple their mission, the SEALs are faced with an impossible moral decision, ultimately leading them to isolation and surrounded by a much larger force of Taliban fighters ready for action—and one the SEALs may not be ready for!

Mark Wahlberg stars as Marcus Luttrell, the author of the first-person memoir LONE SURVIVOR, whose book has become a hard, motivational resource for its lessons on how the power of human spirit is tested when we’re pushed way beyond our limits.  Starring alongside Wahlberg are Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster. 


Off the bat, I must inform this film pulls no punches with war’s dangerous complexities and harsh reality. Setting off with stock-footage of SEAL training, as a viewer you’re introduced to a world beyond anything the human mind, body and soul could and/or would ever resist. As it leads to build-up, the humanization of each and every single SEAL is established in a way where it’s not too far from the every day, average Joe we encounter. In one way, shape, or form they come off relatable. But once it starts to unfurl upon scenery through harsh, Afghan mountainous terrain, the reality starts to set in pertaining to uncontrollable intensity that follows once “it’s on”(for lack of a better term).

Capturing just about every impossible angle you can imagine, the cinematography is gritty, yet flawless. The film’s might has a crafty way of sucking you into the battle, leaving you just as mentally exhausted as the four SEALS encountering the carnage. Written (by Peter Berg) in a way that provides more than you expect, along with a “twist” (considering if you know the book, you know the ending), it’s commendable and applauded how it still captures imagination and manages to bully one’s abilities to resist all sorts of vile atrocities.

As hard as it may be to take in some of what the film exposes, its layout is definitely appreciated. The challenges between right and wrong at the cost of seeing a mission to completion places a big question mark among “Rules of Engagement.” Serving as the entire film’s purpose, the simple actions of a decision is what makes this phenomenal, but harsh film an intense two hour experience.


Grade: B / Genre: Adaptation, War, Drama, and Action / Rated: R / Run Time: 2 Hrs. 1 Min.

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana

Directed by: Peter Berg



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