Movie Review: Lone Survivor

Based on the 2007 nonfiction book depicting the real and horrific experiences of United States Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his team, Lone Survivor tells a fantastic tale of a more gruesome and tragic experience that displays influential amounts of courage, honor, sacrifice, and bravery. While it may have been violent to an extreme, the film depicts the truly remarkable skills and determined courage needed to stay alive in the most terrifying times of war.

Tasked with capturing or killing the notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his team of highly trained Navy SEALs (Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster) set out into Afghanistan wilderness in order to get sight of their target in a town below. After a group of goat herders discover them, the team must quickly evade the Taliban forces that are moving in fiercely to find and kill them. A fast-paced and gruesome shoot-out quickly unfolds as the team is pitted against a massive number of deadly Taliban soldiers. The SEAL team must then work together and move fast in order to stay alive as long as humanly possible.

So far this year, this is probably the most thrilling film I've seen. The way this film was made, which was expertly done, made you feel like the whole thing was real, even if it was just a movie. However, since it did actually happen, that is what makes the film even more horrifying. From realistic shoot-outs (where you actually do get hit) to the bone-chilling sounds of four men rolling down a deadly hill of jagged rock, the film was an excellent Hollywood depiction of this tragic event, not being afraid to show the audience what it really looks, sounds, and feels like to be inside a war-zone. While at times, it may seem ridiculous, the realistic aspects of the film was its most defining feature. Showing the audience what it feels like to be shot at, blown away, or thrown into a life-threatening situation was how this film thrived. It was made to entertain, shock, and to make an impact in peoples' lives, and I think it did an amazing job at that.

The cast of the film was nothing special, but I think the filmmakers chose them with the sole purpose of not making the film star-studded, but making it tell the defining story instead. With Mark Wahlberg leading as the real lone survivor Marcus Luttrell, it became one of his more defining roles, playing a man who stood tall to protect his brothers, but in the end was emotionally affected by their deaths. At his side are his "brothers", played by not-so-out-there actors Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster. Being actors you rarely see on-screen, it made the film seem more grounded in that I didn't know everyone on-screen, making it easier to connect with their characters. Kitsch, who I know as Gambit from the X-Men film that will not be named, played Lieutenant Michael Murphy, acting as a leader to the group. His role was also quite defining, especially his act of bravery when his team needed to contact the command center for help. Hirsch played an interesting role as comm specialist Danny Dietz, acting as the sort-of kid of the group. In the film, he goes in expecting no trouble, but soon realizes what is at hand and how the situation might end for him. Then finally, there's Ben Foster (who also played an X-Men character) who plays Matthew "Axe" Axelson, the last SEAL remaining with Wahlberg in the end. The last moments of his life were quite sentimental and emotional, him saying good-bye to his wife and quickly losing hope in getting home alive. After he had lost all he had, Wahlberg is left on his own to face the remaining forces and seek whatever refuge he can in order stay alive to tell of his lost brothers and their daring acts of courage.

From the very first moment when the crosshairs of Mark Wahlberg's sniper rifle lined up with the deadly face of their most feared enemy at that moment, that is the very second the thrills of this film were truly unleashed. That very second, as the shot was fired, all-out war broke out between four men and nearly 200 Taliban soldiers. From that moment on, there was only silence among the audience as bullets and missiles flew, and the blood of men was scattered. Never in my life had I seen such brutality and chaos unfold from within the realm of film before, this tragic tale of one soldier becoming a realistic view of how war actually looks. The thrills of this film never cease due to the fact that the audience knows that the team will die, all but one, but does not know how they will meet their fate. Although the movie is overall morbid and sad, it succeeds at keeping its audience excited, and grossed out, throughout the entire film.

Overall, the film is sad, tragic, and violent, but is also hopeful, fearless, and horrifyingly realistic. All these elements and emotions help make the movie what it was meant to be: a look inside a true war-zone. War-zones are not happy or fun places, they are places were survival is limited, and death is everywhere. I know it may not sound all that exciting, but once you see this film, you will believe that a war-zone is the most thrilling, and haunting, place of all. Either way, the film was filmed amazingly, cast perfectly, and written to inspire and fascinate its audience with a tale of heroic proportions.

I gave the film a 9 out of 10 because it was one of the best war films I've ever seen, and it accurately tells of the heroic and courageous acts every single person in the Army, Military, Navy, and others do to protect and serve the United States of America.


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