Movie Review: Lone Survivor

Lone SurvivorTitle: “Lone Survivor”

Director: Peter Berg

Writers: Peter Berg

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

“Lone Survivor” is based on the book by Marcus Luttrell, which is his story of being the only survivor of a mission to capture or kill a notorious Taliban leader, a mission that went south very fast.

Now, I’m not a military man. I’ve never been in a firefight. I wasn’t there. So, I can’t say anything as to the authenticity of this movie.

What I can tell you that this movie has a lot of annoyances. First, almost from the very beginning, they play up the whole brotherhood aspect of the Navy Seals. It’s played up excessively. After the first ten to fifteen minutes, you’re ready to through up your arms and scream, “Okay, we get it already!” The villain is not compelling. We’re not given much more of a reason for why we should hate him other than “Taliban bad!” And the heartstrings are pulled in the most obvious and unimaginative ways, like playing up how one of the characters is getting married. Frankly, this movie is an insult to the intelligence. Finally, if the title doesn’t give it away, the ending of this movie is blatantly obvious, so its plot isn’t compelling. Only the latter part of the movie, where Luttrell is on his own and taken in and protected by some villagers is interesting leaves some questions as to how it will play out.

As a military movie, it’s okay. You expect a lot of shooting, and you get that. You expect a lot of military jargon and strategy, and you get that. What I don’t like is the sound. This film is nominated for sound mixing and sound editing for the Oscars. The problem is that while the sound is not out of place, the impact noise hits you like a punch in the gut, but not in a good way. Now, one might argue that the heavy impact noise makes the audience feel the impact. But in this case it pulls the audience out of the film. The sound is so jarring that it stands out and doesn’t feel like a natural part of the film. So, while the sound editing is quite good, the sound mixing doesn’t work.

This movie will only appeal to a specific audience, mostly the military and political right. It tries to be another “Zero Dark Thirty” and fails. As a military movie, it’s okay, but not compelling and a bit shallow.

“Lone Survivor” earns 2 out of 5 stars.

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