I’ll admit I went in to this one a bit hesitant. For all my professed love of camo and G.I. Joe, I’m not really that in to the whole guns-blazing, flag-waving Call of Duty-ish behaviour that seems to have gripped our generation. The title alone – ‘Lone Survivor’, made me think I was in for 2 hours of knuckle-dragging ‘Murica fuck yeah nonsense. All this without mentioning that homeboy Peter Berg’s last directorial flex was the truly insipid ‘Battleship’. However, I came away from last night’s showing at my local cinema feeling pleasantly surprised and actually quite affected by what I’d seen.
Based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name, ‘Lone Survivor’ tells the true tale of a group of four Navy SEALS who very much found themselves overwhelmingly outnumbered on an Afghani mountainside in 2005. Without giving too much away, the title pretty much sums up the disastrous outcome of this engagement. Berg must first be commended for making a non-partisan war movie based on an ongoing conflict. While it would be easy to paint the Americans as the good guys and the Taliban as the baddies, the director very much presents us with the actual events themselves without making anyone in specific look like the hero. The four man squad (made up of Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) are presented as men at work, very much going about their business in the highest professional manner and not as some larger-than-life Action Men.
What these men endured was nothing short of astonishing. I found myself limping to the cinema feeling sorry for myself after a tough night’s sparring but came away astonished at the punishment the human body takes over the 2 hour running time. There’s a tumble or two that these guys take off the side of a mountain that are truly painful to watch. If anything this is a film about endurance and survival more so than any a pro-military piece with a particular agenda. The last scene that shows the true human cost of the conflict is a tough watch for sure, but I definitely recommend you fit this film into what is a busy pre-awards season right now.
9 camo bucket hats / 10