Lone Survivor, Peter Berg’s graphic and little-nonsense film is filled with tense action scenes for almost 3/4’s of its 121 minute run-time. Lone Survivor tells us that the best laid plans executed perfectly can be undone by the actions of other people simply because it is part of their everyday life. Lone Survivor tells us that because of honor – you may very well live or die.
With Lone Survivor, Berg (The Rundown, Friday Night Lights, Collateral, The Kingdom) has stepped off the gas in terms of standard Hollywood studio stylization. There are no scenes with our hero shooting bad guys with two rifles in hand flying across the screen sideways – let alone in slow motion. The Bad guy is not a trumped up villain played by a Hollywood star [uncredited] as favor to the Producer. Lone Survivor is not a film where the good guys hit every shot and the bad guys miss completely.
After establishing that members of SEAL teams go through the unimaginable for entry, have everyday lives back home and exhibit the same behaviors and idiosyncrasies of any tightly knit group; Lone Survivor moves to the the military mission at-hand.
Lone Survivor is based on the events of real-life and the screenplay was written by Berg and retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell from his non-fiction novel of the same name. Luttrell is one of the SEAL team members depicted in the film.
The Mission is a serious one – with its intended outcome being the death of a known and high profile enemy. In Lone Survivor, the mission goes completely sideways – but not because of some easy scapegoat clearly identified in a foreshadowing event. In Lone Survivor, the SEAL team and its mission are undone by events of which no-one can completely anticipate and choices that might very well be correct and right – but may cost lives – including your own. As the saying goes; in any project there are 50 things that can go wrong and if you are an expert you will think of and plan for 25.
In Lone Survivor, the SEAL team and its associated members go down hard – painfully and in a highly graphic manner. Luttrell as the last SEAL team member alive is almost certain to die as well. However because of honor, his life will be spared – the same type of honor that influenced the death of his team and fellow soldiers.