Lone Survivor tells the true story of elite SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his band of brothers, who were sent on a dangerous 2005 mission in Afghanistan that quickly went FUBAR. When the four soldiers — played by Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, and Emile Hirsch — are discovered in hostile territory by shepherds who may or may not be aligned with the Taliban, they have to decide whether to execute their captives and continue their stealth operation or release them and risk being surrounded by numerically superior forces.
The soldiers quickly realize that it’s a life-or-death decision, one that not all of them will survive. When the Taliban confronts the isolated SEALs and the bullets begin to fly, the subsequent firefight is one of the most harrowing ever recorded on film. “The action that follows is excruciating and relentless, and [director Peter] Berg doesn’t spare the audience,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty. “If anything, he rubs our noses in the blood, sweat, and tears of combat.”
Lone Survivor eschews politics and instead aims for bluntly proving the wisdom of Robert E. Lee, who once said, “It is well that war is so terrible — lest we should grow too fond of it.”
Advertisements for the film have raised comparisons to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, but the more apt comparison might be Black Hawk Down, Ridley Scott’s 2001 war movie about the failed rescue of American soldiers in Somalia. Before you head to the theater, read what some of the nation’s leading critics are saying about Lone Survivor, which opened Dec. 25 but expands across the country today.
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