It’s hard not to be moved by the events of Lone Survivor, the harrowing true story of a failed 2005 mission, in which four US Navy Seals were tasked with finding a top Taliban leader.
 
Things begin to go wrong almost immediately after Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his three comrades (Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch) are dropped by helicopter in a thick mountainous region in northern Afghanistan. As the soldiers move into position, they run into an elderly goatherd and his two younger companions…the sort of situation that presents a tough moral dilemma. Before they know it, the four-man squad comes under heavy fire from an army of Taliban insurgents. Over the next 40 minutes director Peter Berg pummels the screen with brutal, relentless action that is often hard to watch. Bullets are sprayed, and blood flies till you have to turn away from the consequences of war, which this film never shies away from showing.
 
Mercifully we are spared the sort of jingoism that films like these often fall prey to, and although the dialogue is occasionally cheesy, it’s clear while watching the film that Berg is taking a decidedly apolitical stand. In fact, the film’s unexpected final act highlights the compassion and the bravery of ordinary locals, thereby giving the film some much needed perspective.
 
All four actors, particularly Wahlberg, are in very good form, competently meeting the film’s grueling physical demands, and effectively conveying the bond of brotherhood between them.
 
I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Lone Survivor. It’s a realistic, gruesome depiction of war that’ll stay with you long after the lights come back on.

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