At the Movies - Lone Survivor - review

Pictured from left to right, Taylor Kitsch, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch.
Pictured from left to right, Taylor Kitsch, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch.

If anyone reading this review wants to tone up their derrière then I would recommend they watch ‘Lone Survivor’.

It’s director, Peter Berg’s first outing since the abysmally bad ‘Battleship’ but thankfully ‘Lone Survivor’ does not suffer the same fate.

The movie is based on a book by former United States Navy SEAL, Marcus Luttrell.

Luttrell, who is played by Mark Wahlberg, and three other Navy SEALS formed a reconnaissance team and they were sent deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan in 2005.

Luttrell , Lieutenant Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Gunner’s Mate Second Class Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Sonar Technician Second Class Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster) had located their target and withdrew to a place in the mountains where they waited for reinforcements to carry out the next stage of the operation.

However, the four soldiers were discovered by a group of goat herders who they promptly took prisoner.

Realising their mission had been compromised commanding officer, Mike Murphy (Taylor Kitsch) and Luttrell took the decision to release the goat herders but two hours later the four Navy SEALs were ambushed by a large contingent of Taliban fighters.

The trailer for ‘Lone Survivor’ was top class. It made me want to go and see this film and despite a few early mishaps, ‘Lone Survivor’ lives up to the promise of the trailer.

After 2004’s ‘Friday Night Lights’, it’s Berg’s best film.

In ‘Lone Survivor’, Berg has made one of the most entertaining modern war films of the last ten years. The way the film is shot and its sound are out of this world and to describe some of the battle scenes as an assault on the senses would not be doing them justice.

The film’s opening 15 minutes act as the proverbial calm before the storm but as soon as the men are ambushed by the Taliban the butt clenching commences.

The shootout scenes between the Navy SEALS and the Taliban are utterly gripping and filmed with a tremendous sense of drama and fear.

Casting Wahlberg, Kitsch, Hirsch and Foster as the Navy SEAL team was an inspired decision.

The camaraderie between the four men is almost tangible and clichés such as their gals back home are all present and correct.

One of the most impressive elements of ‘Lone Survivor’ is its sound.

Along with ‘Gravity’ it’s hard to recall another film with as equally as astounding sound as ‘Lone Survivor’.

It was as if the bullets and the explosions were happening around me in the cinema; ‘Lone Survivor’ is certainly a film that should be seen on the big screen.

I suppose the inevitable thing about a film like ‘Lone Survivor’ is that it negates to portray the men chasing the Navy SEALS in the same light.

Berg resists the urge to utterly vilify the Taliban but regardless of their politics or religious beliefs it’s awfully naive to think that any of them were or are without human qualities.

The film’s final scene feels a little idealistic but surprisingly, it actually happened and Berg executes brilliantly. Go and see this one!

‘Lone Survivor’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl. For cinema listings visit or telephone 02871 371 999.

VERDICT: 4/5 - ‘Lone Survivor’ is a real return to form from Peter Berg. He’s rekindled some of the magic we experienced during ‘The Kingdom’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’.

Wahlberg, Kitsch, Foster and Hirsch are all leading men in their own right but not once do any of them ever threaten to overshadow the film’s remarkable story.

The film’s sound is outstanding and it would be no surprise at all if it were to win the Oscar for either sound editing or sound mixing.