In case you are one of the few who have not read the #1 Best-Seller and detailed account of the failed Navy Seal mission in the mountains of Afghanistan, then you have denied yourself one of the most mesmerizing reads of your life. The four-man team, consisting of Michael Murphy, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, and Marcus Luttrell, were tasked with capturing or killing Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.
The book is an eyewitness account of the team's engagement with a superior Taliban force after they were walked up on by an Afghani goat-herder and his sons. The movie, as depicted in the book, reveals the outcome of the team's decision regarding the failed mission.
|(left to right); actors portraying Axelson, Dietz and Luttrell|
But it is the relationship between Marcus Luttrell and his teammates -- their professionalism, their duty to country, and their love for each other -- that is at the heart of the story. It is obvious that each of the actors took their roles seriously. These are real, bigger-than-life heroes they are playing, after all, and they needed to get it right. I'm sure you know that I have an active imagination, and Marcus had done a good job in the book of fleshing out the personalities and character of each of his friends. I was curious to see if I would be as moved by an actor's portrayal. They did not disappoint.
In director Berg's own words, "This story is about working together for something bigger than our ego, bigger than our individuality. It’s about coming together as a group—protecting each other, loving each other, looking out for each other—and finding a greater strength as a team than you could ever find as an individual. Marcus [Luttrell] wrote a book that, as much as it’s about 19 people being killed on a tragic day in Afghanistan, is about brotherhood, sacrifice and team commitment."
|Marcus and Gulab|
It almost felt as if the movie worked hard to develop the camaraderie between the men, and accurately depict the ambush and battle scenes, and then realized the conventional two-hour limit had been reached. Therefore, to me, the ending seemed rushed.
I am also seeing comments that facts have been altered in the movie, such as Marcus's death scene, his capture and the number of Taliban assailants. This is the way I see it... we know this is Hollywood, right? It is the very nature of movies to change things to "translate better on film." And, if Marcus Luttrell, the man who lived this story and served as consultant, approves of the alterations, then who are we to say the movie is "inaccurate." It is called a "movie", after all; not a documentary.
In the end, I left the theatre feeling that Lone Survivor, the movie, accurately portrayed the honor, courage and commitment of our military. Having heard Marcus Luttrell, himself, speak several times of the events of those hours and days, this movie has nothing to be ashamed about. You will be moved and inspired by the dignity with which these men's sacrifice was portrayed. Go see it!
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."