Tuesday, 4 February 2014

[REEL QUICK REVIEW] - Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor mark wahlberg movie

Director: Peter Berg (Battleship, Hancock)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch
Certificate: 15
Run-time: 121 minutes

IN SHORT: Although mostly plotless and trite, Lone Survivor is so realistic, you'll be dodging imaginary bullets in your cinema seat.

When their operation is compromised and all communication with their base is lost, a Navy SEAL team featuring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch, are left stranded in the Afghan outback. Their secret operation turns into all-out warfare as the men are forced to fight for their lives in one of the most unmerciful and harshest of terrains. Based upon Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's (played by Wahlberg in the film) autobiographical book, Lone Survivor respects its source material by adopting a brutally high level of realism.

And it's Lone Survivor's effective, and faithful, recreation of warfare that makes the movie such captivating viewing. Director Peter Berg successfully employs a raw, guerrilla style of film-making with plenty of handheld and POV shots immersing the audience into this perilous situation. With rocket launchers, smoke grenades and even specks of blood hitting the lens, Lone Survivor is an assault on the senses, never easing up on the viewer. And the movie would be nothing without its visceral sound design, which was nominated for two Academy Awards. The audio track adds a sense of dread and further enhances the chaos on-screen as a cacophony of bullets and shrapnel spray through the air at an unrelenting, sometimes deafening rate.

Lone Survivor is a limited experience, however. Wahlberg and co all turn out solid performances but aside from brief conversations about family and aspirations, these SEALs are characterless and one-dimensional. In the end credits, photographs of the real 'Operation Red Wings' team are displayed and I found myself struggling to place their names, which isn't a good sign. As a survival, one-man-against-the-odds movie, Peter Berg's movie is a fine technical achievement. However, Lone Survivor lacks the depth of both character and storyline to be ranked amongst the great contemporary war movies such as Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawn Down.

Mark Wahlberg and Emile Hirsch in Afghanistan mountains Lone Survivor


  1. Good review Ben. Keeping the focus on the soldiers is what made this movie hit so much harder and all the more compelling, even when it began to get a bit sentimental.

    1. It DID get a little sentimental at times. I wanted to keep this review short so didn't go into that but Taylor Kitsch's final scene did irk me a little. The slow-mo, the multiple bullets, the music, it was all laid on a little thick.

      Still, I did enjoy Lone Survivor but won't be revisiting it anytime soon.




Email *

Message *

Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC