“Lone Survivor” has been at the local theatre since last week, and it entertained record crowds, so much so that last Wednesday, the evening screening was completely sold out. Things are calmer now, so if you have the stamina to withstand intense suspense and battle scenes so real you’ll swear you’re bleeding, don’t miss “Lone Survivor.”
It does what most war movies never do; it celebrates heroism, but it also acknowledges that even the bravest have vulnerabilities, and that our generally stupid tendency to stereotype comes at a cost. “Lone Survivor” sets things straight.
The film’s setting takes place in 2005 during as the war with Afghanistan escalates. Based on true events, it lays out the story of Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his military team of extraordinary Navy Seals. The mission involves the capture or extermination of a dangerous al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd (Yousuf Azami). Luttrell’s team does what SEALS do best. Knowing no bounds of bravery and courage, they move through the rugged Afghanistan mountains until they have the camp in view from their mountain top vantage point.
Each team member has a specific area of expertise. Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and Matt “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster) function like a well-oiled machine.
The plans involve meticulous precision, communication, and coordination. When things start to unravel with their communications, they don’t let that deter them from their ultimate goal. They have Shahd in their rifle scopes. Suddenly, the unexpected happens, and suffice it to say, things do not go as planned.
For the next hour or so, you will be riveted to your seat. You’ll experience the terror, the violence, and the rush of adrenaline that comes with such war-time situations. You won’t soon forget the courage demonstrated by these soldiers and their will to do their job, especially after the circle widens, and defeat looks imminent.
The title “Lone Survivor” says it all; one of the brave survives, but he does so only with the help of an Afghani villager who practices the rules of “Pashtunwali,” an ancient custom that requires the practice of bestowing hospitality and respect on all visitors.
Wait for the credit at the end to see the photographs of the real soldiers and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice. We should acknowledge their courage, and remember that war, always, always, is hell.
Rated R for violence and pervasive language.
Marilyn Robitaille has been writing film reviews for the Stephenville Empire-Tribune since 1998.