OMG, what a movie. The screening was over two hours ago and I haven’t recovered yet. “Lone Survivor” is about war – bloody, no-nonsense combat – and by the end I felt as if I’d been in those battle scenes with the soldiers. I’m thoroughly spent and emotional overwhelmed. It’s that good, though not for the squeamish.
Based on the bestselling first-person memoir by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, it’s told by writer-director Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) in almost documentary style. We follow Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and three of his fellow SEALS on a covert mission to capture/kill a high-level al-Qaeda operative in the remote mountains of Afghanistan. These men are seriously elite – smart, well-trained, physically fit heroes – whose job becomes even more dangerous when they encounter some goat herders and must decide whether to adhere to the “rules of engagement.” Soon, their moral decision leads to their ambush by a large force of Taliban, and the men fight for their lives.
The action sequences (well, the whole movie is an action sequence) are shot in such a way that you can’t believe what you’re seeing. The SEALS’ will to survive is super-human, no matter how serious their injuries, and I swear I’ll never complain about my aches and pains again. (I’ll try not to anyway.) Talk about brave. These men made me want to jump through the screen and save them.
Without preaching and pontificating, “Lone Survivor” says a lot – about war, about courage, about leadership – and while it’ll be overshadowed by other movies this Oscar year, I hope people won’t skip it.