Earlier tonight, I was lucky enough to score a pass to see “Lone Survivor”. This is based on the true story of Mark Luttrell and the doomed Operation Red Wings. It is a testosterone binge because it is about Navy Seals and they are essentially walking bags of testosterone.
It features a stellar cast. Mark Wahlberg is the Lone Survivor of the group and turns in one of the best performances I’ve seen from him. Taylor Kitsch surprised with a depth not seen elsewhere in his back catalogue. He plays the Lieutenant who is the leader of the squad. His performance combines his proven action chops with a much more nuanced character than he is usually cast. Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster round out the team on the mountain.
Where this one shines is it’s portrayal of the bond between these men. They refer to each other as brothers and there is a palpable sense of that throughout. The more the situation deteriorates, the more intense the connection between them becomes. Given the title, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that not everyone goes home at the end. When the team starts suffering, you suffer vicariously along with them. When they start dying, even though you know it’s coming, it is still emotionally impactful. It is crafted well enough that in the time you spend with them, you come to share a small part of that bond.
When the team members are hurting, the audience grunts and groans along with them. Seeing them hurt is like seeing someone you know hurt. You feel their pain, and that is a testament to the creative team behind the camera as well as the people in front of it.
A quick caution here. The violence is brutal, direct and explicit. This one is nor for the squeamish. Other than that, if you’re in the mood for a fact-based action trip which is long on realism and short on flag-waving this one is definitely worth seeing.