Lone Survivor

Out Now On-Demand

Live to tell the story.

Mark Wahlberg leads this true war story as Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of the failed 2005 mission ‘Operation Red Wings’ in Afghanistan. From Peter Berg, director of The Kingdom, co-starring Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Eric Bana.

Based on Luttrell’s non-fiction book of the same name, Lone Survivor details the mission of his 20-member SEAL Team who were sent to capture or kill Ahmad Shahd, a notorious Taliban leader in Afghanistan's Kunar province. While infiltrating the region, the team encounter a shepherd boy and hold him at gunpoint, forced to decide whether to execute him for the sake of the mission or to take a risk and let him go. Choosing the latter, the team are soon confronted by over one hundred Taliban warriors.

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Directed by

Written by

Action, Drama, True Story & Biography, War

121mins

Rating: R16 Violence, offensive language & content that may offend

USA

Actor-turned-director Peter Berg (he was great in Wes Craven's Shocker!) has a knack for infusing jingo-istic military gung-ho storytelling with a relatively grounded sense of camaraderie and brotherhood. That ability is tested to its limit in this adaptation of former US Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's memoir about a violent incident in Afghanistan in 2005. If you smarted at the patriotic fervour in Berg's last film, the underrated (seriously!) Battleship, you'll have similar mountains to climb here.

Corralling the best cast of its kind since Black Hawk Down (which this film repeatedly evokes), Berg sets up the relationships and personalities of the soldiers quite well. Once they're out in the field and the s**t starts to go down, we're treated to a tense succession of rough-and-ready action scenes that are pretty compelling. Recalling some of the best “insanity of war” movies, these scenes effectively show how the human element conflicts with the very concept of war. Once the Hollywood-ready third act plays out however, I was struggling with the melodrama of it all, real story or not.

Lone Survivor is a proficiently-made film with plenty to enjoy, but truly embracing it is difficult outside of an American context. Many modern films about such matters acknowledge the wariness with which the world views the American military. This is not one of them.

Guardian (UK)

press

Replete with a certain kind of self-importance and self-forgiveness... has a distinctively martyred America-at-bay feel.

Empire (UK)

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A severe portrait of fortitude under extreme pressure, somewhat marred by blinkered politics.

Time Out London

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There's moral complexity and a climax in an Afghan village which is tense and surprisingly moving.

Hollywood Reporter

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An intense look at 19 American deaths and one survival in a vividly re-created chapter of the fighting in Afghanistan.

Variety (USA)

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A scorching, often unbearably brutal account.

Total Film (UK)

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The direction pummels and the cast impress, yet Berg’s war movie promises more than it delivers.

New York Times

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A modest, competent, effective movie, concerned above all with doing the job of explaining how the job was done.

At The Movies (Australia)

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The first half of this film is really impressive, the second part rather repetitive as the four Americans become wounded and increasingly under siege.

false

Brutal but an amazing true story brought believably to life by Wahlberg and crew. Keeps you completely invested until the end.


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!


Right up there with Saving Private Ryan

Went to see it with my father and after the film he said it was the best movie hes seen in a long time, and I honestly thought it was going to be a normal cliched, high packed, action thriller but boy was I wrong. Mark Whalberg delivers an outstanding performance, showing the audience the hell, that him and his team had to go through, and will leave you finding it hard to believe that it was a true story. It surely makes it in to my favorite war movies list behind the likes of Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers, and again shows the brutality of war and the men and women caught among-st it. sure its another american, patriotic, war film, but they seem to be the ones that are getting out there and telling their stories through the big screen, and what a better way to emphasize that then showing real life training clips and photos of what the navy seals have to go through. So well done Peter Berg, this is a movie that you can be proud of (Unlike Battleship or should I say Transformers in the ocean).


Worth to watch

MINUS the controversial issue the internet talks about this - I found the cinematography, effects, and pacing of the film to be fantastic. It's realistically brutal and heart-racing. The use of sound effects were timed brilliantly, and the acting was just as great.


Realistic in its detail

I went to the film expecting another Mark Whalberg Shooter, which is still one of my favoured military based action flicks next to sniper with Berenger. This film howver was always going to be different. A True story adapted to the big screen, It can be very graphic and hard to watch the scenes knowing that its based on real events, Its hard to tell whether its been watered down or gored up but its very real and the way in which its filmed you are there in the action amongst the fight. The dialogue is as if you are there amidst the conversation. The characters are introduced in a way that there is always the weight of other lives on their shoulders be it the soldier next to them or loved ones at home. And the feel good twist amongst this with the explanation is a great way to tie the lose ends together. Worth a watch


It's brutal

And makes sense. How you work as a group and stand behind the ones next to you out of loyalty and tough it out. Be loyal and able to be relied upon makes this completely. Worth staying to until the end.