Friday, January 10, 2014

Lone Survivor: Movie Review

Hilarious dialogue and ridiculous war scenes make an odd mix.

A war movie starring actors who belong in a war movie (Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch) and an actor who’s better off not being in a war movie (Emile Hirsch), is released during awards season and getting major attention for its screenplay (WGA nomination). There are just so many things that don’t fit together with “Lone Survivor”, and that sums up the movie exactly. 2013

Directed by: Peter Berg

Screenplay by: Peter Berg
Based on the book by Marcus Luttrell

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch

The screenplay nomination really does make sense. The story was really good and the dialogue was fantastic – easily the best dialogue that I’ve ever heard in a war movie. Leading to the most amount of laughter I’ve ever heard in the theatre of a war movie.

Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch) is getting married; he thinks he should buy Arabic horses for her, Marcus Lutrell (Mark Wahlberg) informs him that Arabian horses are really expensive. His fiancée is on a decorating spree; Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) thinks she must be pregnant. That was about it to the character introductions and I enjoyed every second of it.

Now we are off to fight. Marcus Lutrell is leading his team of 3 other Navy Seals on a mission in Afghanistan. It goes wrong, and it goes very wrong very quickly. And this is when the war movie decided to become a significantly worse war movie. They fought for what seemed like hours – four Americans versus two hundred or so Afghanis. It obviously doesn’t go well for the Americans but they have a strange ability to survive multiple gunshot wounds.

Bob Dylan has asked the question, “how many roads must a man walk down before we can call him a man?” and this film asks the question, how many cliffs must a man fall down before we can call him dead? And the answer, my friend, is infinite. You can get shot 10 times, fall down 3 different cliffs and still get up to shoot at the enemy. Based on the name, we can assume there will be a lone survivor, but it took an awful long time to get to that point.

When we do get to that point though, the movie becomes a very touching portrait of humanity; the American hero flag flying high, but not loudly. Sometimes you have to depend on the kindness of strangers. Quoting both Dylan and A Streetcar Named Desire is okay because the screenplay really is the best part of “Lone Survivor”.