“Lone Survivor” may not be the most comfortable movie experience, but it’s certainly one that shouldn’t be missed

Kyle Paul

“Lone Survivor,” based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Hospital Corpsman First Class Marcus Luttrell, tells a grim but moving story of survival and the power of brotherhood between American troops when trapped behind enemy lines.

lone-survivor-lonesurv_rgb1The movie revolves around Operation Red Wings, the Seal Team 10 mission to capture and kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami). Assigned to the task of “reconnaissance and surveillance” of the area in which Shah is believed to be located are Lt Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Sonar Technician Second Class Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), Sonar Technician Second Class  Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster) and Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg).

Despite being dropped off miles from the suspected area by helicopter, a goat herder with two young boys incidentally spots the team, compromising their mission. Unable to receive instructions from their command center, the team decides to let the civilians and, after a tense argument, they fall back to the extraction point. Not long later, however, Seal Team 10 find themselves caught in an ambush and completely surrounded by Shah and his men.

After hours of being pummeled with bullets, tumbling down the rocky hillside and smashing against trees, these brave men continue to fight for and alongside each other until only one is left to tell the story.

The film is both a tragic story (keep in mind it’s called “Lone Survivor”) and an inspiring one. Director Peter Berg (“The Kingdom” and “Hancock”) does an amazing job at making the audience care for these soldiers. Lt Murphy is engaged, Dietz is pressured into helping his wife pick out tiles for their home even hundreds of miles away, and Luttrell just enjoys joking around with his fellow brothers. The action doesn’t even start until 30 minutes into the film.

Although Mark Wahlberg’s name and face is on the movie poster, the other actors cannot be forgotten. Kitsch, Hirsch, Foster and even Eric Bana (who has a minimal role as LCDR Erik S. Kristensen) do a great job on their own. The chemistry between the other actors and Wahlberg helps to push the movie forward.

Hats off to Wahlberg, anyway. He plays his role passionately whether he is arguing against killing the herders, dragging a wounded Deitz from oncoming militants or pulling himself to his feet on a broken leg.

The movie isn’t without its flaws. The violence borderlines excessive with Deitz getting his fingers shot off, Luttrell pulling out a jagged shard of shrapnel from his leg and the puffs of blood spraying from countless bullet holes.

It can be pretty difficult to watch, but I still give “Lone Survivor” three out of four stars. It’s not really the perfect movie for date night, but it’s certainly potent enough to be memorable.