As shots of gunfire bleed your ears and endless rounds of shell casings drop to the ground, it is excruciating to imagine the horrors that US Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell endures during a 2005 reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan. And yet, Peter Berg’s directorial vision in Lone Survivor nauseatingly captures every detail in an honest and remarkable account of heroism across nations.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster, the narrative follows a four-man recon unit of Operation Red Wings, whose objective is to locate Taliban leader Ahmad Shah and disrupt militia activity. But when their mission is compromised and enemies clash, the realities of this team’s struggle will have you exasperated with shock.
Wahlberg and Hirsch are mesmerising, unequivocally recreating each gunshot wound, broken bone and shrapnel to the body with such intensity and anguish, you can’t help but feel their pain. Combat sequences are edited realistically to recreate the fast-paced, heart-pounding immediacy of battle and engage viewers by representing multiple perspectives in warfare.
Cinematography by Tobias A Schliessler breathtakingly captures the picturesque mountain slopes of Kunar Province in the northeastern region of the country, revealing the difficulties the band face when searching for cover.
Although predominantly serious in tone, there are moments throughout the piece endearingly enacted by Wahlberg and Foster to capture the lighter, more humane side of our heroes while under attack. These momentary breaks in the bloodshed provide some much needed comedic relief in an otherwise grippingly suspenseful biopic. This film is so vivid, it will leave you with flashbacks.
Although overtly violent and disturbingly graphic, the execution-style shootings and brutal beheadings can be difficult to digest but are essential in recreating the true events that Luttrell himself fought through. Despite the action-packed nature of the film, this provocative and insightful retelling does not overly simplify the conflict but thoughtfully explores the decisions we make and the consequences we must live with.
Lone Survivor is released on 31st January 2014.
Watch the trailer for Lone Survivor here: