[Movie Review] Lone Survivor


Director: Peter Berg

Writing Credits: Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson

Notable Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana

This review is dedicated to the men and women of the Nigerian armed forces who are remembered for their acts of heroism on the 15th of January yearly.


Lone Survivor tells the true story of Marcus Luttrell and his team (SEAL TEAM 10) of Navy Seals which set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives due to an unexpected circumstance in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

The Script

When a team of Navy seals’ mission is compromised by three goat herders who discover their hideout up in the Afghanistan mountains, the seals are left with the decision of either killing the men or setting them free. As expected the seals did the ‘right thing’ by letting the men go which results in one of the released prisoners fleeing to report their location to nearby Taliban members. What follows as expected is all hell being let loose on the poor honorable men.

The first 40 minutes of the movie  had mostly been characterized by a slow build up, basically because script writer Peter Berg was trying to depict the bond between seals. The movie managed to keep its head above water thanks to the reasonably attractive dialogue and a more comical approach. The next hour of the movie picks up, gets serious and down to business. From there on, its gun battles and some of the best warfare depicted in recent times in a war movie.

The story is based off a book by the Lone survivor Marcus Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg) from the operation tagged Operation Red Wings in which three of his fellow seals Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster) lost their lives. What I loved the most about the writing was the fact that even though we could tell from the title who survives this mission,  the heroics of the soldiers portrayed by Peter Berg’s script makes you want to see how the events unfold. The events definitely were fictionalized with our heroes jumping off cliffs like hulk on steroids, but it was definitely a fun and emotional experience seeing that.

The Directing

Peter Berg is best known for directing Saturday Night Lights one of my favorite sports dramas, The Kingdom which is also a good war thriller and Battleship (with all guilt, I confessing to loving that movie even though I know it wasn’t a well scripted movie) which he agreed to direct in order to get finances for Lone Survivor from Universal. Berg took a totally different approach with Lone Survivor using a Documentary and aerial style of shooting due to the rocky terrain and probably for the depth in realism which was shown in the movie.  Lone Survivor is a well directed movie which even though most of the events were fictionalized still delivers a good war movie.

The Acting


Every character in the movie is well played by the actors and this was confirmed by Marcus Luttrell himself who worked closely with Peter Berg during the filming of the movie. Mark Wahlberg plays the lead role of Marcus Luttrell the medic and sniper and delivers a performance which has generally been applauded by critics. This is his best role I have seen outside his recent and mostly comical performances and he even admits to this role being his best till date. Taylor Kitsch plays the role of Michael Murphy which was the the on-ground leader of the mission and my personal favorite in the movie. Emile Hirsch plays Danny Dietz who was the communications officer and spotter and Ben Foster plays Matt Axelson who was the  Sonar Technician. The movie also stars Eric Bana (Troy) and Shane Patton (2 Guns)

The Verdict

Lone Survivor earns a Popcorn and Soda.Sodas & Popcorn Rating4

Every fan of war movies should have a nice time seeing this movie, but it is just another war movie. It is no Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down.

So have you seen the movie? What do you think? Do drop your comments below.

Information Credit: Wikipedia