Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
war in the Bible
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
terrorist / terrorism
murder in the Bible
death of friend
male bonding / friendship between men
|Featuring:||Mark Wahlberg … Marcus Luttrell
Taylor Kitsch … Michael Murphy
Emile Hirsch … Danny Dietz
Ben Foster … Matt ’Axe’ Axelson
Yousuf Azami … Shah
Ali Suliman … Gulab
Eric Bana … Erik Kristensen
Alexander Ludwig … Shane Patton
|Director:||Peter Berg—“Collateral,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Battleship”|
Envision Entertainment Corporation
“Live to tell the story. Based on true acts of courage.”
During the opening credits we see actual footage of candidates being put through the intensive training needed to become a US Navy SEAL. Many fail, but among the few that persevere is Leading Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and this is his firsthand account of what happened during Operation Redwing.
The mission was very straight forward; the four man team headed by Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch) was to be inserted deep into Afghanistan close to a known Taliban compound, positively identify a leader that had recently killed 20 US marines and eliminate him. The film takes us from the beginning of that ill-fated day, through the drop, the compound approach, the events that would compromise the mission costing many US SEALs their lives, and finishing with the incredible rescue that made the telling of their story possible.
“Lone Survivor” is one of the most realistic portrayals of an actual battle I have ever seen so naturally it has content which bears warning.
Language. Extreme. The most pervasive being the “F” word at over 135 instances which at times made up a wall of curses, S*** was used much less so (15x’s), Hell, B***h and various euphemisms for genitals are used sparingly (1-2x’s each) and the Lord’s name was taken in vain twice (G**damn). The “R” rating (recommended for 17 and up) should be taken seriously for this and the violence.
Violence. Heavy. Once the fighting ensues it becomes hard to keep track of the number of Taliban fighters that are wounded and killed. The SEALs shoot many in the head and blood is often seen. Close combat with knives are realistically presented and the injuries the SEALs suffer are gut wrenching including fingers shot off, and both shrapnel and bones protruding from wounds. The cruelty of the Taliban is touched upon when they drag a villager suspected of betraying them out to a log to chop off his head (only splattering blood is shown during the hacking).
The camaraderie that SEAL Team 10 shows one another is both inspiring and exactly what we expect from our armed forces and Marcus’ band of brothers.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24
Determined never to leave a man behind, every SEAL is quick to pull their injured buddy to safety and just as willing to put themselves in harms way, as heroically shown, in order to give the others even the slightest chance at a rescue. Jesus describes this kind of commitment and love when he said,
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13
Perhaps the most surprising and meaningful scene was when Marcus, alone and in foreign hostile territory, receives help from a very unexpected source. At first distrustful of any local, he ends up being aided ‘like a neighbor’ just as Jesus instructed us to be to all men as in the parable of the Good Samaritan.
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead… But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds…” Luke 10:30-37
During a long fall Marcus drops his gun but when he finds it he exclaims, “God is looking out for me.” Yes, he was. Speaking in retrospect Marcus says, “I can never forget. No matter how dark it gets, no matter how far you fall, you are never out of the fight.”
“Lone Survivor” pulls the audience into the story and there are times you can almost imagine what it was like to be with them. Few war movies, even those based on actual events, manage this because they are told with ‘Hollywood’ style theatrics. Not so this film and for this reason, as well as the excessive language and violence, it is not a movie for everyone. The story of these heroes is a great one and certainly one that needed to be told, but as Christians we should not so readily subject our ‘spirit’ to such coarseness. The team’s actions reflect proudly on their legacy and I strongly recommend this be seen, but only when an edited TV version is available.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.