2014-02-07 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

MovieScope

“Lone Survivor” – Seals, The Real Deal
By Robert Snyder

Amidst the praise for the decadent party movies (“American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall

Street”), Oscar missed one that sorely needs to be honored: “Lone Survivor.”

An accurately brutal recreation of a 2005 Navy SEAL suicide op in Afghanistan, “Lone Survivor” is far better than the overly-lauded, politicallyconnected SEAL movie of last year, “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Where the SEALs in “Thirty” cakewalked into a Pakistani compound and killed Osama bin

Laden, their four counterparts in “Survivor” are dropped in the rugged, craggy Afghan woods to perform a poorly-planned mission impossible: The assassination of Taliban chief, Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami) in a huge, heavily fortified and manned complex.

Led by Patchogue-native Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), SEALs Matt “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) soon realize the insurmountable odds that face them.

Hiding in the bushes, they try to contact their camp, only to encounter some goat herders (an elderly man and a child included). Opting out of the slaughter of innocents, the SEALs make the fatal mistake of letting the goat herders go. And where one of them goes is right to the Taliban.

After a few minutes of nail-biting suspense, our hapless heroes find themselves completely surrounded. During the inevitable firefight, the SEALs take out a lot of Taliban, but short of being supermen, there is no way they can win…particularly after a few bone-cracking plunges down rocky ravines.

As you may have guessed, Wahlberg’s character Luttrell is the titular “lone survivor.” This is only because he is saved by another less well-known hero, Afghan “friendly” Gulab (Ali Sulliman), who brings him to his hut, risking his and his family’s lives.

Like that of “Zero Dark Thirty,” the story of “Lone Survivor” is one that needs to be told. And it is by filmmaker Peter Berg in a straightforward, though effective way.

Yes, Oscar nominated it for two technical awards (“Sound Mixing” and “Sound Editing”). But it was one of 2013’s best pictures and deserves that recognition.

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