BY ASHLEY KOWALEWSKI
Lone Survivor is the latest war-on-Afghanistan flick released and is based on the memoir of the same name, which tells the story of the failed Operation Red Wings mission back in 2005.
Four Navy SEALs (played by Marky Mark, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) were on an operation in a mountainous village in Afghanistan to take out a Taliban leader and his righthand man. When something simple and unforeseen goes awry (and then a few more things go awry…), their entire mission is compromised, leaving them in a four-against-forty shooting battle where only one of them makes it home (hence the title). You know five minutes into the movie who the “lone survivor” is and it really isn’t a surprise when you look at the casting.
This flick was being hailed as “One of the most extraordinary war films since Saving Private Ryan,” so for someone who looooved SPR, I had high hopes. Truthfully, it didn’t even come close. This movie was good, don’t get me wrong. There was a certain 21st century flair with the gore in this flick that movies from the late 90s just didn’t hit (I mean, I’m entirely comfortable with tasteful gore and I had my head buried in my lap for the last half of the film). BUT as far as war films go, I wouldn’t call it extraordinary. Considering the movie circulates around four men in the last three days of their lives, you do really get a sense of the characters (and the real people who died in this mission, for that matter) and I absolutely sympathized with them. I didn’t at any time feel like this was supposed to be one of those badass war flicks where things explode just for the sake of it and the hero walks through the fire at the end, carrying his friends over his shoulders. It did feel real. All of the actors in this gave off the sense that they were really scared for their lives and they didn’t know if they would make it out. Yes, there was one moment when Foster tells Marky Mark to make sure his wife knows how much he loved him, but when you see the interaction he has with his wife at the beginning of the flick, then you know it’s genuine and not at all cheesy. And yes, it totally made me tear up.
I can’t quite pinpoint why it fell short for me. Maybe it was because I saw that one line hyping it up so much. Maybe I’m cinematically jaded and expect more in terms of casualties, explosions, etc. I’m not sure what it was. It really was worth a watch, especially if you like war movies and the casting was definitely well done (Eric Bana and Jerry Ferrera!!). And anytime there’s a movie of this nature that is based on real people who fought and died for their country (whatever the cause was), you can’t help but feel more of a connection to it, especially when we’ve been watching this stuff on the news for more than a decade. The last scene where they showed pictures of the real soldiers and how old they were when they passed nearly broke my heart, as did the whole scene where the “lone survivor” is saved.