An emotionally gripping film that defines the phrase, cinematic tension.
“LONE SURVIVOR” depicts the true events that took place in the summer of 2005 when a S.E.A.L. team is sent into the mountains of Afghanistan to track and kill a Taliban leader and find themselves under attack.
The cast is loaded and all of them broke through with some excellent performances. I can also say this is one of the best performances from Mark Wahlberg in many years. Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch should all be commended as well for the effort they put into their roles. These men looked and felt the part and it helps pull you into the settings and situations.
Sure the first-act is rather run of the mill, as the soldiers share banter between one another while on base, and while it was on the generic side it was still able to build the needed message of camaraderie among the men. Then tension and suspense however immediately ramp up as the team of soldiers are set out begin their mission in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan.
Directer Peter Berg excellently captured the settings, the rugged countryside was beautifully shot and effectively captured the dangerous landscape and how it hindered the S.E.A.L. teams ability to gain a foothold on the outnumbering enemy. Berg rightfully kept the source material a focus and it was good to not see this film over Hollywoodize the battle sequences, for the most part.
The script captured the harrowing scenario the men faced and felt like it did a respectful job of showing what these men went through with attention kept on accuracy. I do feel some of the scenes were over-the-top and unknowing of the true details, it just felt like some moments tried to go too far for the sake of emotional pull when it did not need to. Overall though, the battle sequences in this movie were hard to sit through and will have you cringing on more than a few occasions. The cinematography was excellent and did not hold back on capturing the violence of the situation.
The fact you know how it will all turn out given it is based on real life events make this film very emotionally trying. You want these men to succeed so much yet you know, for the most part, they will not. All you can do is sit back and watch the film progress and a feel a deep respect for the real men the film is based on.
This was a very heavy movie to sit through, the distress it portrays will wear you out and it does make the film seem very long, although the third-act, as intense as it was, did manage to serve as a cool down from the visceral feelings the second-act pounds into you without hesitation.
Often when a film is based off true events the result can feel glamorized to various extents for the sake of trying to make a more gripping film. Peter Berg took time in the detail, respected the events in my opinion and rather than simply trying to make a good movie, to me it felt like his focus was to share the sacrifices these men made for their country.
“Lone Survivor” is not an easy film to watch but it is a very good one and will leave you with a heavy heart and a great respect for the men it is based on. The cast was excellent and Peter Berg added to their performance with a beautifully shot film. This movie will grab your attention and never let go till the credits roll after a tearful, well composed homage to the S.E.A.L. team at the end.
– Starring –
Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Alexander Ludwig, Jerry Ferrara, Rich Ting, Yousuf Azami, Rohan Chand
– Directed By –
Time: 121 min
MPAA Rating: R (For strong bloody war violence and pervasive language)