Ben Oliver

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Lone Survivor

I am the reaper.
17 April 2014

A couple of decently thought out battle scenes in the woods punctuate this otherwise mindless piece of propaganda.

We get the training montage, the character defining banter at base (if Mark Wahlberg wasn’t in it we could have had a game of ‘which one doesn’t die’. Alas, it was always going to be him), a brief run through of the mission ahead and they’re off. The title indicates what happens. As do the first 5 minutes of the film, where it does that annoying thing of showing us the end then rewinding to the start, for no reason. Much like All is Lost in fact, where it also made no sense (although the rest of the film is brilliant, so the similarities end there).

There are a few things to take away from this:

When the SEALs are on top of things, Berg plays it well. There’s not too much noise, it’s tense; you feel like you’re in the battle. However, when shit goes south for them, we get the dramatic music, the slow-mo and the focus on the gore. See, it’s okay to be realistic when it’s to do with winning, but showing three men dying in the woods for no reason other than ‘their government told them to’ is a no-no for propaganda. That’s where this film lets its viewers down. Going for realism is a noble idea, but chickening out when it counts the most is unforgivable.