Sunday, March 9, 2014

Movie Review: "Lone Survivor" (2013)

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Movie"Lone Survivor"
Director: Peter Berg
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minutes

Based on the true story of a Navy Seal team, Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster) are tasked with finding and killing a top Al-Qaeda operative named Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami) in Afghanistan. After radio communications fail, the men are left to fend for themselves amongst a much larger threat than they originally thought. While trying to regain communications, they are discovered by a group of goat herders; the team is faced with the moral dilemma of letting the goat herders go and hoping they are not Taliban or killing them even though they might be innocents. They let them go after much debate, and make for higher ground in the hope that radio communication will start working again before the Taliban army catches up with them.

This movie title is the spoileriest title in the history of movies.

The first hour of this movie is basically lead-up to the final battle sequence. It introduces you to the characters and explains their mission while cataloging what goes into preparing for such a large-scale operation such as this one. The last half of the movie is so intense: it's basically a one-hour gunfight with twists and turns and falling and lots of blood and bone cracking. It's also very emotionally draining to watch as you become invested in wanting the men to succeed in their mission. For what it's worth, whether this is a lot of fiction mixed into the truth, this is a great movie. It's filled with a lot of interesting camerawork (read: LENS FLARES) and it is well shot and well directed.

Another interesting aspect of this film is the dilemma between finishing the mission at all costs or aborting it for morality's sake. Should the men sacrifice a few possible suspects on behalf of the greater good, even if it means killing old men and children? Or, should they let the possible suspects go and not only risk their own lives but put the lives of others, possibly into the hundreds or thousands at risk? We see this worked out on-screen like someone solving a puzzle in their own head. Another inspiring aspect of the film deals with the village of Pashtun people and how they put their lives and whole village on the line to save Luttrell, even though he was an American soldier they have no ties to. They did this to uphold their Pashtunwali code of honor.

Overall, we recommend this film, regardless of your political affiliation because it's really good!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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