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home : columnists and contributors : columnists and contributors October 4, 2015

1/22/2014 12:01:00 AM
Movie Review: Lone Survivor
Cynthia Morse Zumbaugh

This is not one for the faint of heart. This movie is intense and gritty, not a feel good movie to make you smile. Based on the memoir by the same name by Marcus Luttrell, this is the story of Luttrell and his team and a mission to take out an al Qaeda leader, Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami) and is probably closer to a true story than most of what Hollywood offers.

The movie opens with some special forces training scenes, I imagine trying to help us understand what these soldiers go through, but the story actually starts 15 minutes or so into the film, when the mission begins.

There are some VERY intense action scenes in this movie, this is a war more up close and personal than most of us probably actually want to see it but it does give a little more understanding of the situation. I heard an interview with a former Navy SEAL and he felt that this movie was very successful at portraying not just the war but the way men felt about each other; he referred to zero Hollywood propaganda and I'll take his word on that.

As you can guess from the title, this was not a successful mission. This movie is more about the dedication that these men felt to each other and what lengths they would go to for their team and that is inspiring. It also didn't make the SEALS unit a perfect machine, as some recent movies have. Mistakes are made, but the effort and the heroism never falters.

The acting is very good, Wahlberg in particular is excellent. This is probably the best work that I have seen from him The war scenes are a little too brutal for my personal taste, but I'm guessing that is because I don't like to think about what our soldiers go through; it's not comfortable. This puts it front and center. Imagine the Normandy beach scene from Saving Private Ryan going on for a third of the movie; that's the kind of intensity this movie offers. I also wish that we would have gotten to know a little more about the lives of the characters, but the spotlight here is on the relationship they have with each other, with not so much time spent on their friends and family before the war.

Rated R, there is almost constant profanity and as I mentioned, very graphic violence. This movie is not for younger children but if the children are a little older and not too sensitive, there are good lessons to take away from this movie.

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