From the creator of Friday Night Lights, featuring one of that program’s main stars, filmed in a similar style, and backed by music from the band who scored the show, it’s almost a surprise that Lone Survivor doesn’t take place in Dillon, Texas. In keeping with those roots, it’s therefore only appropriate that Peter Berg’s action-packed tale of an Afghanistan Navy SEAL mission gone horribly wrong nails the camaraderie between these brave servicemen both in camp and out in the field with an intimacy reminiscent of his his success with high school athletics. Beyond these assets, however, the results are mixed.
Following Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (FNL’s Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster) on their doomed mission, the bullets and bravery are constant yet grow somewhat monotonous, especially with the vague extent of the SEALs’ respective injuries. As his brethren exit and an overmatched Luttrell scrambles for his life, the strength of the unit subsides to a more individual focus and with the frequently awkward Wahlberg at the forefront the film suffers. Still, as with any decent fact-based story, there are enough complications to leave the end result in doubt and at the very least make Luttrell’s perseverance a greater personal victory. Such are the perks and drawbacks of this type of narrative, one in which the group is nonetheless admirably placed above the individual, but even with these limitations there’s the sense that Berg & Co. got what they were after.
Rated R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language.
Lone Survivor is currently playing at the Carolina Cinemas on Hendersonville Rd.