January 10, 2014

Lone Survivor

When did the Funky Bunch get so serious?

Grade: B
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hr. 1 min.

It’s dicey to label Lone Survivor, director Peter Berg’s film about a 2005 military operation in the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 19 American sailors and soldiers, as jingoistic. Indeed, Berg—an expert director when he wants—ably captures the proficiency and camaraderie of the Navy SEAL community, chiefly the four brave teammates ambushed by scores of Taliban fighters during the botched mission.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Marcus Luttrell, the SEAL whose firsthand book serves as the film’s source. Unfortunately, other compelling performers—including Ben Foster—bid a too-hasty exit due to the narrative’s “and-then-there-was-one” format.

Berg spends an inordinate amount of time earnestly extolling the military milieu, as if sharing each gung-ho incantation is a rite of passage for the honor of telling this tale. For the target audience, the firefights take on a video game quality where it takes multiple hits plus tumbles down a rocky crag to stop a SEAL, whereas faceless enemy killers go down with a single sure shot framed through a rifle scope. ‘Murica

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