When you ask the average person to associate one word to the military, you get answers like courage, duty, honor, and bravery. When I reflect on the time I spent serving my country the one word that stands out most is brotherhood. The men and women I served with became an extended family to me. I still stay in touch with some, and remain very close to a few. Brotherhood is the underlying theme that has been behind the intense action of military films in recent years. Lone Survivor is no different.
As a disclaimer I must say, this movie is extremely intense. I honestly cannot recall the last time I felt so transported to where the characters on the screen were. Be warned before going to experience this movie, it is not for the faint of heart.
Beyond the story of military brotherhood, Lone Survivor is the telling of the failed Operation Ring Wings, where a squad of Navy SEALs is sent to scout a remote village and confirm the location of a Taliban leader.
The first 40 or so minutes of the film are introducing you to the squad, details of the operation, and give a window into the world of the SEALs. Having known a few SEALs in my service, I can say that the interactions between the squad are fairly accurate. You definitely get a sense of the camaraderie and the brotherhood of the military, right down to the ritualistic hazing of the new guy.
The film focuses on the four SEALs that were sent to scout the village at the beginning of the operation. Director Peter Berg (Collateral) assembled a group of strong actors; Taylor Kitsch (Savages) is Lt. Michael Murphy, Ben Foster (The Mechanic) is point man Petty Officer Matt “Axe” Axelson, Emile Hirsch (Milk) as Petty Officer Danny Dietz handles coms, and the lead role falls to Mark Wahlberg (2 Guns) as Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell. Each player gives a great performance as fitting the heroes they portray.
A large chunk of the film is the brutally intense gunfight the four SEALs get into with the Taliban on a mountainside in Afghanistan. The tension that is built up prior to the first bullet being fired to the bloody end will have you on the edge of your seat. Some creative license is obviously taken with the events of the fight, but Berg went to extensive lengths to ensure the memory of each sailor is not tarnished.
A tragic and heroic telling of one of the military’s darkest days in recent years, Lone Survivor is rated R for intense war violence and language throughout. It will be released nationwide Friday January 10, and has a runtime of 121 minutes.
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