While a bit more cut and dry than “Saving Private Ryan,” director Peter Berg’s “Lone Survivor” is a respectful and powerful portrayal of the story it was based off of.
The movie is based off of the book by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson, which is Lutterll’s non-fiction account of Operation Red Wings.
The movie takes place over the three days of Operation Red Wings. Luttrell (Mark Walberg) and his fellow Navy SEALs Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster) are sent to find and/or kill a high ranking Taliban leader named Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami).
Everything was going according to plan until a group of goat herders discovered the SEALs hiding near the Taliban controlled village. As per the rules of engagement, the SEALs let the men go even though it was obvious they were affiliated with the Taliban. Promptly the goat herders warned the Taliban and the SEALs were forced to fight a losing battle as the Taliban forced them down a rocky hill.
Only Luttrell survived the fight, as shown in the opening scene, but the way he was eventually rescued is an absolutely a remarkable tale. If this had been fictional, people would have written the movie off as an outlandish portrayal of the war.
The movie was done very respectfully, and though it was very gory, the blood and guts were realistic. The special effects in the movie were limited to mostly gunshots. The gun fights were very intense as the Taliban used everything in their arsenal from AK-47’s to RPG’s to kill the SEALs. None of the SEALs deaths were overdramatized, like in a typical thriller movie, and after hearing their descriptions of life at home earlier in the movie it’s hard not to cry.
I must commend Luttrell in his book and Berg in his directing for their portrayal of the Afghanis.
In case any viewers forget that the movie is based on a true story, at the end of the movie there are photos and videos of the actual men who died in Operation Red Wings. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theater.