Based on the book written by the only survivor of the failed mission on June 28th 2005 named Marcus Luttrell, we follow four SEAL team members as they stake out a village to make an identification of a top Taliban commander. While waiting on a hill side their communications go down and they are found by two boys and an old man who are herding goats. They have three options, let them go, which would mean over two hundred Taliban soldiers would chase up the hill after them. Or they leave them on the hill side tied up or straight up execute them. This scene is intense and wisely allows the four men to argue about it, this gives the audience time to rack the minds over what they would do. They of course release the three and very quickly find themselves under attack.
This is hands down the best war film in the last ten years. Only two other films in my opinion have down a good job at handling the War on Terror and that is “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker”. This film gives us a small amount of time to get to know not only the four SEALS but other members of their team. All the actors here do their best work from Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch. All actors try and live up to the real life soldiers they are portraying.
When the battle starts the movie amps up the tension. Everything is gritty and feels very real. This was due I assume because Luttrell and other SEALS were consultants. Enemy soldiers dart in and out of sight. Gun fire rips through the trees but it’s hard to see where it comes from. The four SEALS are well trained and better fighters so they take down many approaching Taliban. The film never though feels forced, where other directors might over due how great the SEALS are Peter Berg keeps this very real. As the SEALS retreat they are shot up pretty badly.
To escape the SEALS dive over the side of a mountain and these scenes are brutal and on the edge of being hard to watch. As the battle settles the movie begins to loose it’s hard edge. Luttrell is the only survivor of the fire fight. He is rescued by local villagers. This did happen in real life but the way it is filmed seems fake. When the Taliban arrive looking for Luttrell the villagers try and fight them off. Berg makes several what I’ll call “Hollywood” choices when it comes to Luttrell being helped by a Afghan boy. The films tone changes from gritty war film to B-action movie so suddenly it took me out of it.
The story needed to be told on film, Berg was the perfect choice. The action is amazing and brutal. I do suggest that if you can please go read the book. The third arch of the film skips over a lot of details about Luttrell’s experience with the Afghan villagers. The film makes it seem like it happens over the span of an hour, when in real life it was several days. Still this movie should be checked out especially in theaters if you get a chance.