Film Review: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor

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.

Trailer Round-Up

This week has seen the release of the first trailer for new Bond movie Skyfall and the teaser for Anchorman 2. Also featured are The Campaign, Killer Joe and Cosmopolis.

Skyfall

Well isn’t this exciting? Albeit with less of the unreserved glamour of the Roger Moore days, Bond is back in what’s looks to be another frenetic adventure. The tube train excerpt is sure to strike fear in the heart of any London commuter. Quantum of Solace was a bit disappointing, but hopefully director Sam Mendes will return Daniel Craig’s Bond to the form of Casino Royale. Skyfall is released on 26th October 2012.

Anchorman 2

A belated sequel to a much-loved film is always tricky. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a fantastic film, so the idea of a sequel is received with equal parts glee and skepticism. This teaser reveals nothing really about the film itself, but it is great to see Will Ferrell reunited with Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner. Hopefully that hot piece Baxter will also return for the sequel.

The Campaign

Before Anchorman 2 is released, here is another slice of Will Ferrell. The Campaign is a new comedy starring Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis. Ferrell’s line during the trash talking sequence alone makes me want to go and see this film. The Campaign is out on 28th September 2012.

Killer Joe

This looks like it will be a combination of tense and absurd. William Friedkin directs Killer Joe, based on a play by Tracy Letts. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple. Killer Joe is released in cinemas on 29th June 2012.

Cosmopolis

David Cronenberg’s last film, A Dangerous Method, was a letdown. From this brief teaser, Cosmopolis immediately looks inherently more Cronenberg, which is definitely a good thing. Starring Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton and Juliette Binoche, Cosmopolis is released on 15th June 2012.

The Darkest Hour Trailer

The Darkest Hour is a new sci-fi thriller due for release in early 2012. The film features some pretty impressive effects, as illustrated in the trailer above. If the above situation occured in real life, I would probably hide in a cupboard. But this would not make a very interesting film. Much better to run and fight back. The Darkest Hour stars Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby.