Blood, guts and testosterone

Lone Survivor Universal Rating: 14A 121 minutes

In many ways Lone Survivor is a traditional war movie: brave young men dying for their country while killing dozens of the enemy. But this movie is more realistic than most (although that’s not necessarily a good thing) and more emotionally draining.

It’s apparently based on the real story of an American SEAL (played by Mark Wahlberg) who was the only survivor of an Afghanstan mission to kill a Taliban leader that goes dreadfully wrong. Wahlberg, and the rest of his team played by Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster, are discovered by three Afghani goatherders shortly after being dropped into enemy territory. The team decides to do the noble thing and let them go, unharmed, and abandon the mission. But they are soon being hunted by hordes of Taliban soldiers. A communications breakdown means there are no helicopters coming to rescue them.

There is lots of blood, guts and male testosterone here, probably too much, as they are chased down and picked off. This is brutal, in your face, moviemaking. But while the action and effects are sometimes overwhelming, you do get wrapped up in the story as Wahlberg’s character struggles to survive and is eventually saved by friendly Afghans.

At the end of the movie you see pictures of the real SEALs who took part in the mission (18 Americans were killed, most when trying to rescue the first team) and, sometimes, the actors who played them.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Tom Hanks was overlooked for an Oscar in Captain Phillips but Cate Blanchett will probably win one for Blue Jasmine.

Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.

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