Strong cast and compelling production

WARRIOR ETHOS:  Mark Wahlberg, right, is in his element in Lone Survivor.
WARRIOR ETHOS: Mark Wahlberg, right, is in his element in Lone Survivor.

Lone Survivor. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster; directed by Peter Berg

There is something captivating about seeing a true story recreated in film. You only need to see recent films, Captain Phillips and Philomena to understand that.

Now director, producer, actor and writer extraordinaire Peter Berg places his film Lone Survivor on the table.

It recounts the true story of Operation Red Wings, a group Navy Seals sent on a mission to capture or kill a member of the Taliban in 2005. The group is made up of Marcus Luttrell (Wahlberg), Matt "Axe" Axleson (Foster), Danny Dietz (Hirsch) and is led by Michael Murphy (Kitsch). While resting, they are discovered by shepherds. After debating what to do, the decision is made to let the shepherds go and to terminate the mission, returning to safety; a decision which leaves the group fighting for their lives in the hills of Afghanistan.

It's hard to believe that this film has a running time of two hours. It felt more like an hour. It was utterly compelling from the first scene to the last helped along by a strong cast and wonderful production.

Each one of the Navy Seals delivered outstanding performances, which includes Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Pain & Gain) who more often than not plays the same role in each of his films. Kitsch, Foster and Hirsch are excellent, unsurprisingly, as each of these men are great in their own right, even if their movie choices have been weak - Kitsch, I'm talking about you.

Deservedly, Lone Survivor received two Oscar nominations this year for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. The sound was exceptional, adding an extra dimension to the film to draw audiences in, which was especially felt during the combat scenes and the impact of a couple of cliff dives.

I worry that this film will be overlooked amongst the number of excellent films currently screening, so, please, if you are attracted to true stories about survival, then see this incredible film. You will not be disappointed.

The Southland Times