Based on a true story… Hello moviegoers, written and directed by New York native Peter Berg and based on the book of the same name by SEAL Team 10 member Marcus Luttrell, “Lone Survivor” starts with a crash course in the metal it takes to be a frogman as preamble to the failed mission Operation Red Wings which unfolded in bone crunching fashion in the mountains of Afghanistan June, 2005.
The movie stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, Emile Hirsch as Danny Dietz, Taylor Kitsch as Michael Murphy and Ben Foster as Matt ‘Axe’ Axelson. They make up the four-man SEAL Team whose reconnaissance mission it is to ID and eliminate Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.
‘Lone Survivor’ (3 sweet potatoes out of four) Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana; Director: Peter Berg; Genre: Action, Drama; Rated R; runtime: 121 minute; Open Wednesday, December 25th.
Time on the base is spent fraternizing and talking wedding plans when they get the mission call from Lieutenant Commander Erik Kristensen played by (Eric Bana). The mission is plagued from the beginning with continual difficulty communicating with operations base. From poor to barely audible radio signals to no signal at all, the men decide to hunker down and proceed later to a different peak location to try making radio contact again.
While at rest, a group of goat herders literally stumble onto the team’s location. With their cover blown, the men are faced with a situation – which is debated – ‘Should we let them go or should we terminate the compromise?’ The decision is made to let the herders and what follows hints at the gut churning struggle that’s ahead.
As the SEAL Team continues to scale the mountain their breathing becomes more labored. Berg crosscuts these images with those of the young goat herder scaling down the mountain side with speed and the agility of a mountain goat as he races to alert the Taliban of the SEAL Team’s presence.
The message here is clear: The SEAL Team is adapting to the elements but the Taliban is indigenous to this environment.
Outnumbered and cutoff from operations base, the men of SEAL Team 10 readies themselves for a nightmarish gun fire and a bid for survival that will see the deconstruction of the physical complete long before the will to keep fighting.
The fighting ceases. Night falls and day breaks leaving Marcus Luttrell (Wahlberg) the lone survivor of SEAL Team 10. He is found badly wounded by a Pashtun villager and his son who take him back to their village and offer Marcus refuge. Even so, there is plenty of doubt for Marcus as to whom the good guys are.
Troubling to me was the lax support for the men in the field as portrayed in this film in terms of equipment and in terms of logistic priority. There were too many operational compromises that, despite the men’s valiant effort, left me more upset in the end than anything else.
I give “Lone Survivor” 3 sweet potatoes out of four. This has been your resident moviegoer and I will see you after the movies at moviegoersview.com.