Monday, 10 February 2014

Film Review - Lone Survivor

In The Thick of Action
Film: Lone Survivor
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch
Directed by: Peter Berg
Duration: 2 hrs
Rating: * * * 1 / 2

Lone Survivor is based on a true story, the exploits of Marcus Luttrell during the war in Afghanistan. Films set in a conflict are by and large very engrossing, there are some that delve into the politics of it and there are others that focus on the individual story rather  than the hostility. Lone Survivor directed by Peter Berg is in the latter category.

A gripping film from start to finish, full credit goes to the director for making the story so enthralling in a Paul Greengrass’isque fashion, minus the handheld camera shots. Set in 2005 when the Americans had settled in Afghanistan, a bunch of young soldiers were sent to hunt down a Taliban warlord and his gang, they were supposedly hiding in a village. Since they have to be tackled on ground, the soldiers cannot be airdropped at the exact point and hence they have maneuver through some very tough terrain before they can get to the village which is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking mountains you have seen.  

Before they embark on the mission we are given a brief background of the army men – while we don’t know much about Marcus (Mark Wahlberg) there are others, one who is getting married and his girlfriend wants an Arabian horse (he calls it an Arabic horse) and another who constantly professes his love for his wife.

These handful men tread a long way before settling down at a distance but they quickly discover that there are not just few, but hundreds of Taliban soldiers holed up there. It is not too long before the soldiers are ambushed by the gunmen making them run helter-skelter and hang on to dear life. The title of the film is a dead give away as to how many survive the ordeal. The men put up a brave and valiant fight before help comes is on the way.

Once the action starts you are glued to your seats and those scenes are remarkably well executed. One can only presume that some of the action towards the end can be attributed to ‘cinematic liberty’ Unlike say Zero Dark Thirty which made everything look so real this one goes a bit over the top at the end. But that doesn’t take away much.

One can make a guess that virtually every second mission in Iraq, Afghanistan or in all conflict zones is a story waiting to be told. What I am not sure is, if it can be made into an engrossing cinematic experience as this one. 

Published in The Navhind Times on 9th Feb 2014


  1. A pretty sad movie when you look at it in hind-sight, however, Berg realizes this and makes this more as a tribute to those who have fallen. Good review Sachin.

    1. Thanks for your response, it is much appreciated