Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
Synopsis: Based on the true events of the Navy SEALs mission Operation Red Wings, the film follows Marcus Luttrell (portrayed by Mark Wahlberg) and his brothers in their mission to take down one of the Taliban’s biggest leaders.
Review: There is a reason why Lone Survivor has held the #1 and #2 spots in the box office since its nation-wide expansion earlier this year. The film has had help from multiple branches of the Armed Forces to help keep the film credible and get their help making the film perfect. Director Peter Berg had unparalleled access to Navy SEAL teams and information that helped him in the process.
The film shows the four man team from SEAL Team 10 that included Luttrell, Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster), along with their Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen (Eric Bana). We are also introduced to a few other crew members, but the film focuses primarily on the four member team during their mission.
What works best in the film is the storytelling. While some action films start right off with gunfights and bullets, Lone Survivor introduces us to the team and their personal lives during a rather routine day on the base. It is also in these early scenes we get some nice cameos from the real Marcus Luttrell and Berg as well. Most action films rely on fight scenes over plot, but since Lone Survivor is a true story, plot serves just as much of a purpose as the fighting scenes. The gunfight scenes definitely are graphic, intense, and heartbreaking.
Berg does many things right with the film. The casting was perfect, the locations seemed realistic, and the cinematography was virtually flawless. Berg also is a fan of routine. He used war veterans as a part of his production staff, and used Explosions in the Sky for a lot of score (Berg, Kitsch, and Explosions in the Sky were all part of the TV show Friday Night Lights).
There is only one aspect of the film that deserves some scrutinizing. While the film is “based on true events” and is allowed certain dramatic freedoms, I think deviating from the actual story wasn’t really needed in this sense. Everyone who sees this movie should read the book and decide for themselves. Nevertheless, Lone Survivor might be one of the best war movies in history. Unfortunately, this one is based on a heroic, yet sad true story.
Final Grade: 9.0/10