“Lone Survivor” brings the war movie genre home


Matthew Rutherford, Sports Editor

The man who created one of the worst movies of all time silenced critics by creating one of the best movies this year. Peter Berg’s “Lone Survivor” is inspiring, empathetic and jaw-dropping, all things that his flop of a movie “Battleship” were not.

Taking place in Afghanistan in 2005, the movie depicts four Navy SEALs sent to either capture or kill a highly-ranked Taliban leader. Deemed “Operation Red Wings,” the SEALs descend into a Taliban village in the middle of an Afghan mountain range. As they set up base close to the village and wait for further orders from their superiors, they are spotted by three goat herders who live in the Taliban village. The SEALs immediately capture the three men to avoid being caught, but they are left with a tough decision: kill the herders and proceed with the mission or set them loose and face the consequences.

After much arguing, the SEALs decide to do the moral thing and let the three men return to their village. The action abruptly begins with a bang due to angry Taliban soldiers chasing the foursome all over the mountain. The makeup on the soldiers is astonishing; their bodies feature realistic gunshot wounds and bruises. The stunt doubles for the actors who portrayed the SEALs (Mark Wahlberg and company) were impressive as well, considering they had to tumble down cliffs and use shifty maneuvers in order for the combat scenes to seem real.

While this movie was typical in many ways, it brought new aspects to a war movie that aren’t expressed as often. For one, this movie finally got the point across that not all people in the Middle East (especially Iraq and Afghanistan) are terrorists, thieves, or murderers. The relationship between Marcus Luttrell, one of the SEALs, and Mohammad Gulab, an Afghan who helps the SEALs, struck a chord with everyone in the audience and helped to chip away at a stereotype that many Americans have held ever since 9/11.

Since this movie was based on a true story, the audience experiences an emotional attachment at the end, especially when the last five minutes of the movie are spent viewing a slide show of all the people involved in Operation Red Wings, including the deceased. While “Saving Private Ryan” boosted people’s respect for the military exponentially, “Lone Survivor” gives people a more modern view of the U.S. military and the struggles they go through to keep America safe.

The performance that Wahlberg put on is breathtaking and should have been Oscar nominated for best actor. While the acting wasn’t rewarded with any nominations, the soundtrack was; the movie, deservedly, was nominated for best sound editing and sound mixing. This movie wasn’t the best war movie ever created, but it definitely is worth going to see for its non-stop action and moving character relationships.