Monday, January 20, 2014

Shell Shocked By Lone Survivor

I've been very explicit about my feeling on war films in the past.
But somehow it felt as though, watching Lone Survivor, Peter Berg and his crew had managed to eschew many of those key problems the genre tends to coddle. 1. Relationships are often poorly defined... The four guys clearly understand each other here (and not just them, but their team back at base seems individually well defined and in many ways well humanized). 2. Big action often feels too big and loses the viewers in sloppy construction... Lone Survivor has one of the greatest shootout sequences I've seen in film period. And even as the second half wanes, the memory of how those early sequences went down gives enough drama to propel the film to its final moments. 3. False representations of another people usually abound... This was based on a true story. And given the mistakes they allow to be shown by the US Navy, I tend to believe the Afghan sequences are riddled with truths as well. Sure one side of this thing is just pure crazy people, but there are plenty of others who believe in the value of life and will do all they can to protect it.
It's no surprise to me this film managed to get nominated for Sound Design and Sound Mixing at this years Oscars. And, honestly, I would automatically say they should win those awards if Gravity weren't involved in those respective categories. Even so, I think Lone Survivor's got a pretty damn good shot of taking home it's technical awards. That gunfight was just too technically proficient to ignore.
The actors were all pretty alright. No surprise there weren't any acting awards for this film. But that doesn't mean they didn't accomplish everything the screenplay asked of them. I did find the castings of Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch to be a little strange, mostly because they seem too similar on camera to not be playing brothers. And Mark Wahlberg and Ben Foster gave exactly the kinds of performances I've come to expect from each of them... not overwhelming, not underwhelming, pretty much just there. Eric Bana had a nearly throw away part, but managed to do just enough to keep it interesting.

Overall, I still give this movie a high grade. As far as war films go, Lone Survivor is among the best of the genre.

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