on 31 December 2013
Remarkable representation of an all out firefight between a small contingent of US Navy Seals & a fairly large group of Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
The Seals are sent in, covertly, to capture, or kill, Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. They succeed in finding Shahd and his group of Taliban fighters but something goes very wrong and they are left to fend for themselves against insurmountable odds.
Outgunned and with communications down they come under heavy fire from their opponents and the film tells the gripping, and true, story of the battle that ensues.
This film is extremely well put together and the photography is excellent, with all the actors playing their parts very believably. The director uses some 'poetic license' towards the end of the film but throughout the viewer is engaged in an almost 'Apocalypse Now' experience.
on 22 February 2014
Incredibly powerful film. Shows the combined strength of those who defend our counties, and without getting all overly patriotic about it, this film does make you think a lot about those who protect us.
As a side note, i watched an extended feature of this on Youtube. Mark Wahlberg met the parents of the real life character he was playing and he promised them that he would play the part as true to real life as he could. Needless to say the acting was incredibly good, everything felt so real. Not only Mark Wahlberg but the other actors were excellent too.
The storyline itself is based on true events, we all know what this means. It was sometimes hard to believe the scenes depicted could ring true to real life but I suppose we will never know the extend of what really happened. It had exceptional cinematography, and it is a film at the end of the day. I loved it.
There was a dedicated ending to the fallen soldiers complete with their real life pictures. I really liked this, very respectful.
on 16 March 2014
I'll begin by saying I rate this film as right up with with the very best of grim, realistic modern war movies like Black Hawk Down or The Hurt Locker.
Pretty much every other positive review talks about the really exciting action sequences, great performances and fab cinematography. All this is true. If like me, you are a fan of Friday Night Lights, you'll find a lot of similarities, as the music is by Explosions In The Sky (as FNL) and Taylor Kitsch and Peter Berg are re-teaming from FNL. The reason I bring a series about a High School Football team into it is that it was a series that felt real - as does this and had much greater depth than you might have expected - as does this.
I think Berg as a writer does a very good job honouring the SEALs but also really does a good job or portraying ordinary Afghans positively - or certainly even handedly. At the end there is some on screen text explaining Afghan guest customs, but I think too, you can read between the lines of the film and see that fundamentally the ordinary Afghan villagers are no friends of the Taliban and are as sick of them and sickened by them as we might be.
It IS a bit gung ho at times, and you do wonder about some of the tactical decisions that were made, but that doesn't and shouldn't detract from what is an exciting and very unusual story, that is tremendously well acted, directed and shot.
on 2 January 2015
Generally I am of the opinion that war films can tend to be poor but anti-war films excellent. The more gung-go a film, the less appealing I find it and the more politically motivated a script, the more credible the film is. This is particularly true with more left-leaning films like "Days of glory" , a French film about Algerian soldiers fighting to help liberate France in WW2.
"Lone Survivor" was recommended to me. I had read the favourable reviews but was a bit suspicious that this film would laud the American military establishment as well as put a positive spin on the travesty of Afghanistan. Instead, this film concerns an operation which goes wring for the simplest and most moral of reasons and whilst the first twenty minutes do not really allow for much character development, once in the combat zone the film goes up several notches and doesn't stop. Rather than being gung-ho, here is a film for once that shows that the American military machine is fallible , that their technology is subject to glitches and that even rescue missions might not conclude as anticipated. Effectively, this film is about a chase through the wilderness of a four man team by the Taliban. It is frightening and exciting. Based on a rear incident, the film is better for the fact that most of the actors were unknown to me so that you don't really get the impression of watching actors going through the motions. I think the film can also be praised for the fact that it shows that the American military organisation does have it's failings and that the need to prioritize with the provision of air cover can have catastrophic results.
I wouldn't say that this film has the clout of "Saving Private Ryan" or the shear wallop of "Black hawk down" but it is extremely gripping and whilst the film does conclude with a moral message, it is better at dealing with the bravery and stamina of soldiers who rose to a remarkable challenge in confronting a ruthless enemy when the odds were stacked very highly against them. This film could have been totally different but somewhere along the line the brakes were put on the excesses and, if this film doesn't quite evoke an anti-war message, it at least it illustrates the bravery of the men involved and illustrates the demands of fighting the Taliban. This is a really gripping piece of cinema and a film I would recommend.
on 22 April 2014
Saw this at the flix & loved it. It's your classic special ops botch up / heroic-exploits movie, and a true story.
Action packed & a tribute to those involved in the real-life op involving a Seal Team
sent in to observe a terrorist/warlord in Afghanistan, that goes belly-up.
A must-see for fans of the genre who like it fast, furious, & true
on 16 May 2014
Marcus Luttrell, and his team of Navy S.E.A.L's set out on a mission to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.
After running into mountain Shepherds and capturing them, they were left with no choice but to follow their rules of engagement or be imprisoned.
Now Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives on the mountains, with communications down, and a seemingly endless adversary....
Here in the UK, this vanished without a trace at the Box Office, and Bergs film are either hit and miss, and plus Wahlberg's last film was the poisonous Pain and Gain, so I wasn't really too bothered about seeing it.
But then again, one should realise that a bad movie shouldn't taint your future viewing, and I'm glad it hasn't tainted mine, because this is a really good movie, with great performances from the four leads.
To say the film is intense is an understatement, as half hour into the film, the ambush happens, and it literally doesn't give up until the final credits roll.
Berg proves again, he can expertly film an extended set piece, and every fall and wound the four incur, is wince inducing and brutal, in some parts of the film, I was literally holding on to my chair for dear life.
My only gripes with the film are the title. If you've never heard of the story, it's a bit of a spoiler in itself, and some of the deaths are a bit Willem Dafoe in Platoon.
The final act is breathtaking and very touching, proving that stereotypes are rife in the world.
A really good movie all in all. The narrative is tight, and the film is executed almost perfectly. Just very, very tense.
A small unit of four U.S. Navy Seals 'Marcus Luttrell' (Mark Wahlberg) 'Michael Murphy' (Taylor Kitsch)
'Danny Dietz' (Emile Hirsch) 'Matt Axelson' (Ben Foster) are scheduled to front 'Operation 'Red Wings'
their task to eliminate notorious 'Taliban/ Al Qaeda leader 'Ahmad Shah'
The Commanding Officer at base - 'Erik Kristensen' (Eric Bana')
They have to make their way through dense and rugged Mountain terrain to reach and be in sight of the
Target.....by chance a small group of Goat-Herders happen across the 'Seals' position, this puts the Op'
in jeopardy, decisions have to be made, to continue they would probably have to kill the captives, a young
boy, a possible Taliban Fighter and an elderly Man.
They decide to let their prisoners go and withdraw from the operation, however the eldest of the young men
makes his way speedily to the Mountain village.
The Four are soon faced with a large 'Taliban Fighter' force, a desperate and intense fire-fight soon follows,
the four courageously fight the insurgents, killing many, but seriously outnumbered they each start picking
up injuries from the fierce flow of bullets and bazooka-fire directed at them, though they attempt to back
away the 'Fighters' just keep coming at them.
'Mike' after many attempts manages to get through to base, against standard procedure mission commander
'Erik Kristensen' leads a rescue mission using two troop filled 'Chinook Helicopters' without 'Black Hawk'
cover, the rescue mission fails, the 'Chopper' with the Commander on board is shot down, all are lost.
Only one of the four still lives, a follow up rescue mission fails to locate him, however his story is far from over.
This is an incredibly realistic account of a 'Afghan' mission that is based on a True event.............
This is a truly intense, tense and graphic account which will no doubt have you tied up in knots feeling every
impact of both jumping down a rocky slope, every bullet that connects.
Great performances from the key-artists involved.
A story of valour and battle to survive...............This a must see......
Exclusive Blu-ray Bonus Features.
* Will of the Warrior.
* Bringing the story to light
* Recreating the fire-fight.
* Learning the basics
* The Fallen Heroes of Operation 'Red Wings'
* The 'Pahtun' code of life
on 25 April 2014
The film may be called Lone Survivor, however, it has not fallen victim to being a film that just idolises Mark Wahlberg. All four of the SEALs are portrayed as being tough, determined and heroic in their own right. This in turn brings me on to the most striking element that the film has to offer, the SEALs camaraderie. Never before have I seen a film that illustrates how a group of men are so willing to give up their lives for each other. They put aside typical patriotic ideals (that are seen too often films of this genre), and focus more on their unbreakable friendship. To cynics of the military, this element restores faith in soldiers' humanity; they are a little bit more than just "killing machines", they are also a band of brothers.
on 16 June 2014
This is an authentic story about some Navy Seals put on a mission to kill a Taliban leader. Unfortunately things go sideways and they suddenly fight for their lives. A great movie that puts you through the paces of these tough soldiers and just how much they can cope with.
I was very impressed by this 2013 fact-based war US film. It is a very tense, very realistic, well filmed and well-interpeted war drama. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
War in Afghanistan, 2005. A local Taliban leader named Ahmad Shah is trageted by US Army, after he carried succesful attacks against Americans as well as against villagers who were aiding US forces. A Navy SEALs unit is ordered to capture or kill Shah. As part of the mission, a four-man SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team is send forward to locate the target. These four SEALs are: team leader Michael P. "Murph" Murphy (Taylor Kitsch); sniper Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), sniper Matthew "Axe" Axelson (Ben Foster) and communications specialist Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch). The team is inserted into the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan, where they must make a trek through the mountains - and then the film really begins.
This is a very good war film, one of the best I saw in recent years. It is based on real events and the heroism of Navy Seals is in no way exaggerated - the real life Lt. Murphy received Medal of Honor for his actions that fateful day and a US Navy destroyer was named after him. The film follows the real story, very, very closely and we can actually feel it. This is definitely not a propaganda film or a recruitement tool, but even if the events described are tragic, the general mood of the film is uplifting - this is probably why all the "progressive " medias hated it so much... Characters feel real and they are quite likeable, even if their language is strong and their manners sometimes questionnable - still, in those times of great danger, I am very, very glad that West still has soldiers like that...
Action scenes are realistic, but still unbelievable, much, much better in any SF or super hero movies. Images of Afghan mountains add an majestic element to the whole drama. All actors did very well - that includes also Eric Bana, who plays Lt. Commander Kristensen, one of the Navy Seals who will join in the action only later. For my personal taste the best performance was that of Taylor Kitsch.
Even if we more or less know how it all will end, this film still keeps us very much guessing until the end as for the details. It is a very tense and powerful thing - it is almost impossible to stop watching and I advise you not to do it, in order to not lose the rhytm...
I was very impressed by this film, I am glad that I bought and watched it and I will definitely keep my DVD for another viewing in the future. ENJOY!