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Review: The Lone Survivor – Bristol24-7

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Review: The Lone Survivor – Bristol24-7

It’s expertly shot and through the pain we see the bond that can only be formed under fire

This bare bones action film follows the real life mission of four Navy Seals tasked with assassinating a high profile Taliban leader. Mark Wahlberg takes the lead as the (spoiler alert for those who need to pay more attention) lone survivor.

The film is a risk. There is no twist and a distinct lack of backstory or character arc that audiences and screenwriting gurus have come to expect. The team heads out into enemy territory, having had very little time together and as the mission falls apart there aren’t the usual tender moments and teary goodbyes. Yet Lone Survivor is a worthy and involving action film. The lack of cliched scenes with men spelling out their past in a pathetic attempt to elicit emotion when they die works in the film’s favour. It sticks to a very simple premise: telling a true story about four comrades who faced dire odds and fought for each other.

Director Peter Berg has brushed off the stench of Battleship and ignored the politics of his previous action film, The Kingdom. Lone Survivor doesn’t ask questions about America’s role in Afghanistan or make judgements on the men’s actions. It focuses instead on one decision. When the team’s cover is blown by three shepherds they face a moral and practical problem. Do they kill the men and carry out their mission, or let them go in the certain knowledge that they will expose their position to the Taliban. After one of the few dialogue-heavy scenes, the team goes on the run. And so begins the bone shattering, heart pounding middle act. Sixty minutes of pink mist and frantic gunfights. It’s expertly shot and, through the pain, we see the bond that can only be formed under fire. You may not be able to remember much about the characters, but you will be transfixed as you watch them bleed and die for each other.

The final twenty minutes feel like a cool down after a hard run. If it wasn’t a true story you could be forgiven for a cynical moan about a heavy-handed section, showing the bravery of Afghans who stood up to the Taliban. It doesn’t detract though from what is a worthy entry to the genre.

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