Hollywood often struggles to produce realistic war movies, ones that manage to both convey the terrors soldiers face and to avoid overromanticizing raw, gritty stories. Director Peter Berg has succeeded with Lone Survivor, a thrilling yet also haunting look at a 2005 Navy SEALs mission gone awry in Afghanistan. It certainly helped Berg to have an incredible story to work with, recounted in the book written by the actual “survivor,” Marcus Luttrell. With a well-picked cast and effectively sparse script, the film strikes at the pathos of the audience, but how does it hold up with our more specific criteria?
Should I pay to see it?
A solid yes. If you have the chance to see it in theaters, do it! Though the movie does a fantastic job of appealing to an audience’s humanity, much of its success does still come from its breathtaking gunfights and action sequences. It would appear to be the type of movie that will endure for a long time, so if you want to be frugal know that it will probably be a TV-mainstay a few years down the road. That being said, the movie is more than worth the price of admission — in theaters or on your couch, depending on your eagerness or patience.
Should I watch it with a date?
Questionable. If you like to act and look tough in front of date, gentlemen, this is not the one to see. Not only are the men onscreen tougher than 99.999999% of us, the movie itself will most likely bring you to tears. The sniffling in the theater as the credits rolled was audible, and the restroom I entered moments later was filled with men of all sizes and ages crying on levels from a gentle cry to full-on sob. If you’re looking for quality time to spend with a loved one or love interest, this may not be the best bet, though there’s nothing wrong with a little emotion being thrown around. As always, the terms of the relationship and the date’s personality certainly influence this answer. I cannot endorse this one as a first date type of fare, as crying and shock may not be ideal when just starting with someone.
Could I watch it with my mother?
Speak for yourself, but for me this would have to be a firm NO. As I have mentioned, the movie is far more than a typical action-adventure, but there are still many moments that may not be suitable for mother-child bonding time. There are multiple sequences in which Luttrell and his team take an absolute beating, up against enemy attackers and the treacherous terrain. Berg commits himself to realistic gunfights, bloodshed, and deaths (not a spoiler…see the title), and the result is a movie that makes the audience feel like they’re there with the SEALs. This makes for an incredibly exciting story, but not many mothers will be longing to feel a part of the action, I fear. There are plenty of wonderful movies to enjoy with Mom, but Survivor will be best enjoyed with other audiences.
Regardless of how you do it, find a way to see this movie. Make sure to stay through the credits, and have tissues at the ready.