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MOVIE REVIEW: Lone Survivor

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Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is the new wartime action movie starring and produced by Mark Wahlberg.  The movie was written and directed by Peter Berg; the actor turned director is most known for directing big tent-pole projects such as Hancock and Battleship.  The movie is based on the true life autobiographical book of the same name written by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson.  Its said that Berg drew much of his screenplay from Luttrell’s eyewitness accounts, as well as autopsy and incident reports related to the mission.  Along with Wahlberg, the movie boasts an amazing cast with the likes of Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, and Eric Bana.

The movie is set during the War in Afghanistan where a team of four Navy SEALS are sent on a mission (Operation Red Wings) to capture or kill Ahmad Shah, a leader of the Taliban.  The mission is pretty cut and dry; the SEALS will land, hit their spots, find the target, and get out as quickly as possible.  A problem arises when the team is unable to get a clear signal on their electronic devices and they are forced to move farther than planned.  As morning comes, the team is caught off guard by some local sheep herders and they now have a decision to make; do they kill them or abort the mission altogether?  Upon the decision, the four are now on the run from the Taliban and trying to locate a signal to communicate with their base.  Time is running out and the men are running out of places to hide.  It is here where we see the character and bravery of these individuals shine through.

Lone Survivor is one of the best war movies I’ve seen in years.  The true story of these Navy SEALS is truly gripping and the filmmaking is excellent.  Having such great source material to work with, the movie captures all the emotion and intensity just perfectly.  Peter Berg might have had a big miss on his hands with his last film Battleship, but he’s at the top of his game here.  The movie has a genuine gritty feel about it which is spot on.  Aside from the Berg’s writing and directing, the acting is top notch as well.  I was a bit skeptical of this sort of role for Mark Wahlberg, but he’s fantastic along with the rest of the cast.  In general, war movies aren’t usually my cup of tea, but there’s no denying the greatness of the movie.  On a side note, I was fortunate enough to see the world premiere of this movie in Los Angeles at the AFI Film Festival back in November.  The coolest part was not necessarily seeing the movie with Mark Wahlberg and some of the other stars in attendance, but seeing it with Marcus Luttrell in attendance.  As amazing and thrilling as this movie is, it was a real treat to hear Marcus talk about his real-life experience and what this movie means to him.  A really cool moment for me and my wife.  With that said, Lone Survivor is a fantastic movie experience and well worth the price of admission, a must see in theaters.

Grade: A

Lone Survivor opens in Indianapolis on Friday, January 10.