Starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch & Ben Foster
War has never been a particularly compelling subject tackled on screen for me. Perhaps I’m so detached to the idea of war that I just can’t get behind most representations. I’m interested in characters coming home from war or going to war, but never the in-between. Lone Survivor deals with a Navy Seal team (Wahlberg, Kitsch, Hirsch & Foster) in Afghanistan tracking a Taliban leader. Of course all goes wrong as the team find themselves without contact and under heavy attack.
Surprisingly enough the film is refreshingly enjoyable. Unlike director Peter Berg’s previous military effort (Battleship) the film doesn’t overplay its patriotism (well, sometimes it does). Instead it puts you right there in the action and doesn’t overly glorify much of the violence. True, there are moments where one might roll their eyes at some of the action (a slow motion shot of the team jumping off a ledge springs to mind). As the film goes on and the team becomes fewer (no spoilers, the title is Lone Survivor) we get some very nice human moments that make this stand apart from something like Act of Valor.
The performances are sadly quite perfunctory. The all-star leading men aren’t really required as they really don’t have much to do character-wise. Not that any of them offer a bad performance, it’s just that they don’t really get a chance to be great. Instead Berg is the one who takes time to shine with his sometimes silly but surprisingly moving directorial style. He does a good job of making everything feel realistic and yet still having that Michael Bay style.
The film’s not perfect, it can be silly, over the top and at time it waves it’s stars and stripes a little too hard. But it’s also exciting, inventive and a little sweet. It’s a good war flick that feels realistic but not depressingly so, definitely worth a watch.