LONE SURVIVOR – A Review by John Strange



By: John ’Doc’ Strange

Directed by: Peter Berg

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Yousuf Azami, Ali Suliman, Eric Bana 

MPAA Rating: R (for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language)

Selig Rating: FULL PRICE

Runtime: 121 Min.

When a film opens with the words “BASED ON A TRUE STORY,” you have to wonder how much license the director took to make the story more interesting.  How much of what I am seeing is make believe to fill in the blanks and transition from one known fact to the next.

In the case of Lone Survivor the story follows the accounts of the one survivor, Marcus Luttrell, a nave seal, one of four members of their seal team sent on a covert surveillance mission prior to their unit's insertion to take out a high value al-Qaeda operative.  The plan is complex and has several weak links built in.  Sadly these “points of failure” are not things that can be planned for.  Rough than expected terrain causing communication problems followed by just plain bad luck leave the team under fire and out-gunned.  They live up to their oaths and make the rebels pay a high price to take them down.  One by one they fall to bullets and rockets until only Luttrell is left to stagger off the hillside where he is found and assisted by friendly villagers.

This is a hard hitting action drama whose ending is already known.  Knowing that end doesn’t take away one bit of the feelings you experience as you watch the story unfold.  Peter Berg has done a magnificent job with this adaptation of Marcus Luttrell’s story of brotherhood in the face of the enemy.  Operation Red Wings, saw the loss of three of the four members of the insertion team plus one half of the personnel from their unit coming in to help extract them (including the unit’s commander) when their chopper is downed by a rocket. 

Before the credits began rolling, the filmmakers flashed stills on the screen showing us the faces of those men lost to us.  I had to wipe the tears from my eyes more than once as I looked upon the faces of these men and saw them in photos on wedding days, with their kids, or just family snapshots.  This is a powerful film that will affect you.  It did me.  I spoke to men who had been over there.   They felt that the movie did the war justice.  Watch it and think.  And the next time you see a service man, active, inactive, or retired, thank them for their service.  FULL PRICE.

Note to parents who sneak their kids into R-rated films: DO NOT TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN TO SEE THIS FILM!  The “R” rating is serious.  The damage these young men took in battle is not glossed over.  Seeing this will give kids nightmares.

Movie Site: http://www.lonesurvivorfilm.com/site

The Selig Rating Scale:

FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!


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