Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Yousuf Azami, Eric Bana
Lone Survivor is not your typical “AMERICUH, OH YEAH!” type of movie you expect from Hollywood. Obviously it has its elements, but every film based on real events needs some poetic license.
Based on the true story of Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal who was sent on a mission with his team to kill a high-ranking Taliban leader, Lone Survivor is one of the best, and more realistic, War-in-Afghanistan films. Not only does it correctly, if you have read the novel, portray the events (albeit with some added Hollywood moments, example the knife kill, which apparently never happened), but it also gives an audience an insight into how hard these Seals actually work, and the effort put into the job.
Mark Wahlberg stars as the main protagonist, Luttrell, and does a surprisingly fantastic job, bringing back memories of his portrayal in The Fighter. It so differs from his comedic roles, (Ted, 2 Guns) you almost forget about his dreadful films (Contraband, Pain and Gain). I say almost, as towards the end he wains back into the Mark Wahlberg we all know.
However it is not just Wahlberg who puts in a great performance. It is every Seal in that team. There is this on screen chemistry that you feel the real team would have had during their time. Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, Battleship), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Milk) and Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, Rampart), all connect wonderfully, and their on screen presence makes you believe that these guys have trained together, and actually fought in war together.
Credit also has to go to the directing as there are wonderful landscape shots of mountainside and fully grown trees, that contrast the horrid conflict that takes place in these areas. For forty minutes we get nothing but pure, raw, adrenaline filled action, which keeps you on the edge of your seat, never knowing who will be victorious. Clear Close-ups of wounds, slow-mo shots of bullet penetration, all horribly devastating, yet beautifully shot, adding to the wonderful cinematography that leaves you cringing and reacting to every action, just like the characters in the film. The RPGs that suddenly hit, will make you jump, especially when you least expect them.
The make-up is some of the best I have ever seen. The real intricate detail of the wounds, cuts and bruises really look genuine in the close ups, making you question whether or not it really is make-up. They will leave you grimacing, and wondering how anyone could ever survive taking such damage.
Overall it is a wonderfully pieced together and intricate film, which really helps to give you an understanding of what life is like for these Seals. The real story though comes at the end, where the film takes time to honour the real heroes who left on the mission, and who gave their lives for their country. If your eyes don’t fill with tears as you watch the montage of the men with their families, then you are a heartless bastard.