Trying to capitalize on last years war fervor related to Best Picture nominee “Zero Dark Thirty,” is the adaptation of the story of Operation Red Wings, entitled “Lone Survivor.”
Starring Mark Wahlberg as Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, Operation Red Wings was conducted by Seal Team 10 in 2008 to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. As per the title, the four-man team is eventually taken down to just Luttrell, who is saved by a Pashtun tribe of Afghanistan, despite attacks from Taliban agents seeking the severely injured Navy Seal.
The film also stars Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster as Lt. Michael Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, and Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matt Axelson, respectively, who made up the team with Luttrell and who were all killed in combat, and Eric Bana as Lt. Cmdr. Eric Kristensen, who was also killed during the operation.
The difference between the two films is its scope. Where “Zero Dark Thirty,” while focusing on one woman, was broader in its scope of operations and time period, “Lone Survivor” is a claustrophobic retelling of three men’s last days, and all its bloody, in-your-face- reality of the many faces of war.
What surprised me is, despite the intensity of the film, I never quite felt a connection to the characters. It was more of a nail-biter knowing the end result of this ill-fated mission, but for all the glimpses we got into the men’s private lives, they never quite seemed as fleshed-out as they would have been in real-life.
The never-ending gun battle is full of tight shots, like looking through the sight of a gun, making it all seem that much more intense. By giving it a more intimate portrayal, Peter Berg made us live through the attack with the team, the failed first rescue mission, and the later rescue in the village.
Rated R for strong bloody violence and pervasive language, this isn’t light fare for viewers, but it’s a must-see. “Lone Survivor” has a run time of two hours. The movie rates a high B from me, being a brutal tribute that didn’t quite do the justice to the men, as it did to the circumstances.