Based on The New York Times bestseller by Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor, tells the story of four Navy SEALs on a mission to kill a high-level Taliban operative that end up surrounded by hostiles in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.
As the title makes clear: only one of them makes it out alive.
Although this probably the exact film director Peter Berg (Hancock) wanted to make, the last act stalls, and most troubling, there's not much of an emotional investment beyond the wince-inducing battles that remind us that war is just plain awful.
Here are five things to know about Lone Survivor.
1. The Peter Berg Touch: The actor-turned-director of Friday Night Lights (he also executive produced the NBC series) and The Kingdom, is like the thinking-man's Michael Bay, delivering mucho of ear-splitting explosions matched with somber montages akin to a big yellow marker to highlight the bond between the real life soldiers. The opening training sequence is probably the closet Berg ever gets to overly optimistic. Ironically, Berg's weakest effort could have been mistaken for Bay, last summer's sunken Battleship.
Greg Peters/Universal Studios
2. Falling A Lot: A moment where the team literally goes over a cliff is beyond brutal. Every footing lost, every body smashed into rocky terrain is close to unbearable. How anyone could survive such an ordeal is inspiring, sure, but mostly, just incredibly hard to watch.
3. Mark Wahlberg: the Lone Survivor: As Marcus Luttrell, Wahlberg is just the right amount of concerned soldier mixed with that signature point-of-no-returnness that the former Shooter brings to these kinds of roles. Since the whole story takes place in a short span of time, there isn't much character development, but smaller moments before the big mission utilize the actor's charm.
4. The Question That Is Meant to Linger: Early on, the SEALs team must decide what to do with hostages that include a young boy and an old man. If they let them go, their location could be compromised. Rules of engagement (according to Marcus) are quite clear: they must let them go. Is everything that happens after directly related? Perhaps, but Berg's script wisely allows viewers to form their own opinion.
5. Stay for the Credits to See The Real Heroes. Though the film in mainly focuses on four of them, images of everyone who risked their lives are presented in a manner that is respectful. The level of violence, on the other hand, while probably accurate will likely be harder to watch by the families of those whose lives where lost.