Peter Berg’s rendition of a true story is brutally violent. Lone Survivor is a surprising survival story, but not a wholly compelling one.
Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal, is part of a small team on a mission to capture al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd. When they encounter an unexpected obstacle, the team are left to fight for their lives…
There is no escaping the fact that Lone Survivor is an incredibly military heavy film. Peter Berg’s latest is in the same vein as the director’s last film Battleship. Lone Survivor is littered with military language, that presumably intends to convey a sense of realism.
The film concentrates on the mission of four soldiers and the outcome that ensues when they are forced to make a pivotal decision. Viewers are not given much to get their teeth into in terms of the antagonist they are attempting to capture. Instead, Lone Survivor concentrates on what happens to these soldiers, with Marcus Luttrell at the centre of the action. The film would have felt more rounded if they audience were offered some background on his helpers later in the film, rather than a brief mention prior to the end credits.
This is just one aspect that makes Lone Survivor unequivocally pro-American military. Berg’s film has a similar feel to Act of Valour. There is no real space for alternative interpretation; Lone Survivor lacks the nuance to question US army actions, eschewing a balanced approach in favour of a categorical endorsement of the American military. The sequence of images before the end credits feel like a cynical ploy to draw emotion rather than the sincere tribute it should have been. This segment would have been more effective if it was shorter.
The handheld camera works well in the action sequences, but feels unnecessary in early scenes. The sound in Lone Survivor is used to great effect. Mark Wahlberg offers a competent performance as Luttrell, but it is the type of performance he has delivered before. Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster provide good support.
Lone Survivor will appeal to those who enjoy depictions of contemporary military combat. Other viewers may not be quite so enthralled.