Lone Survivor

Review: Lone Survivor

26 Jul 14

Worth Surviving

It’s been a while since I watched a movie which I have felt so up about, yet also so down, like I did during ‘Lone Survivor’, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg. I will never say I loved this movie, despite my unyielding love of war flicks, but I didn’t exactly not-love it, either.

The movie starts off with some interesting documentary footage of what I presume is the intense Navy Seal training, and the training of the gentlemen we are about to see in action. As my intrigue is peaked and I drift into fond memories of similar war documentaries I have seen in the past (such as Restrepo), we cut to a bleak-sounding narration and a heavily wounded Wahlberg being flown in a helicopter to surgery. Suddenly I’m snapped out of my day dream and thrown into Hollywood – a feeling for me which is never desirable.

However, once that is over we don’t have to deal with it again until the end, and it’s undeniable that this sequence does set the tone quite well for the movie.

And then proceeds the roller coaster of ups and downs.

The Good? Fantastic - and indeed award winning - stunts and action sequences performed during some harsh, brutal combat sequences and upon absolutely fascinating terrain; a well-shot film that throws you into the maelstrom of combat but doesn’t leave you feeling nauseated by what could only be a drunk camera-operator like many Hollywood action sequences; and some really fantastic performances on a number of fronts, especially by Ali Suliman in the last act, leaving me feeling genuinely emotional in the final few sequences. All these wonderful things, plus some amazing sound design – also award winning – contribute to some truly enjoyable ups.

The Bad? Well I’ve touched on it already but here it is in plain sight – there are some needlessly overdramatic moments in this movie, particularly from Mr. Wahlberg. I feel like slow motion should be outright banned or heavily moderated in modern cinema. Sure, sometimes it has great effect, but over using it makes an otherwise interesting and emotional movie something cheesy and Hollywooded There is literally a scene where the four main protagonists jump off a cliff with an explosion behind them – not even joking. Throw in some…eccentric…acting from Wahlberg and you have the downs of this movie. The moments where my immersion and engrossment are booted out a window (with an explosion behind them) and replaced with uninterested nitpicking…which is why I noticed the seam on a wound prosthetic – something I would otherwise miss.

Still, despite all this it’s still a worthwhile-to-watch film. It’s well put together, has more than enough brilliance to outweigh the unbrilliance, and follows an interesting, gut-wrenching story. Add in the fact that’s it’s based on a true story and you have yourself a movie night!
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