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Based on The New York Times bestselling true story of heroism, courage and survival, Lone Survivor tells the incredible tale of four Navy SEALs on a covert mission to neutralize a high-level al-Qaeda operative. The four men must make an impossible moral decision in the mountains of Afghanistan that leads them into an enemy ambush. As they confront unthinkable odds, the SEALs must find reserves of strength and resilience to fight to the finish. Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter) leads an all-star cast including Taylor Kitsch (Savages), Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), and Eric Bana (Munich) in a movie hailed by critics as “unforgettable, tense, and inspiring.” (Movieline)
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Since half the book was about SEAL training, it was OK to fast forward over that and get to the storyline being covered. I was disappointed with the portrayal of the Afghans who assisted, though - that was minimized a little much. Great acting, and the movie caught the essence of what was being portrayed. It seemed less "gory" than Saving Private Ryan, which I appreciated!
There's not much to say about the plot of the movie if you're familiar with what occurred during Operation Red Wings: it's mostly predictable once you know that, although it does a good job of trying to build up and create some sense of suspense that might work with someone unfamiliar with the tale. For that reason, I won't go into detail about it.
There are a few reasons why I can't give this five stars, though: firstly, it tries a little -too- hard to be neutral, while also glamorizing sacrifice and the "good guys" a little too much for my taste. There's little discussion on why certain events late in the movie happen, as well very little storytelling beyond the perspective of the main character. While this prevented confusion, it also led to some things seeming very flat or out of place (such as the detail of rescue operations being largely passed over). The ultimate ending is, sadly, very predictable and not entirely accurate to the best of my knowledge, but it was greatly appreciated regardless. There are some definite Hollywood moments and shots in the movie, but for the most part it manages to be a very accurate, realistic telling of a harsh story.
The movie surpasses Blackhawk Down. Its all too real, they conserve every shot they make, pieces of them get shot off, bones break and here they still discussing how to proceed with the mission. Deeply visceral and moving.
This movie is so remarkable I got angry with all the flag waving the producers threw in. Thankfully they also reminded us there's also a tribal war over there. Trust me, the flag waving was unnecessary and it keeps the movie from its universal message of personal heroism and of how war is truly hell.
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