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    January 19, 2014


    Peter Berg’s latest war thriller “Lone Survivor” is one of the best war films since Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” and is also one of the director’s best movies since “Friday Night Lights”. The narrative story in “Lone Survivor” is based on the details from Marcus Luttrell’s first-person account of the failed 2005 operation in the Kunar province in Afghanistan. But it is Berg’s careful and exemplary details that merge the interesting war depiction with the harshly jagged and steep geography that makes this film works.

    Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster) are the four Navy SEALs behind Operation Red Wings were sent to track down and eliminate Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. But when they were so close to the target, their communication with the command centre goes bust and their position might be compromised by three goat herders. Morality dilemma erupts as they argue whether to keep the goat herders tied up, kill or to cut them loose and risk being tracked down by Shah and his forces. They ultimately opt for the third choice but what ensues later is a game of cat-and-mouse that pits the hero and antagonist into the aim to survive.

    While we are going to pretend that the title did not hint the most possible ending, the story is very direct to its point and it does the job solely on retelling of the whole operation. Berg wants you to focus on the tragedy and to ignore the fact that the soldiers were there as the result of political implications in the post-9/11 world. As the writer, Berg also inserts a great amount of harrowingly gruesome scenes, topped with brutality and much needed morality dilemma in the midst of the context of war. Yes, the gun battle is so real that the bloodshed-effects that spilt from it is as relentless as you can feel and is so intense that it will put you right at the edge of the seat.

    But the tag for being one of the best war films in recent memory basically goes down to its ability to provide some of the finest warfare-related details ever. The retelling and reincarnation of the tragically failed Navy SEALs mission is as far been praised for being the most accurately-told and the most realistic depiction that cannot go anyway better. It is vivid that the production team has done their homework well, going through the extensive research as far as possible even down to the autopsy report, classified information and interviews.

    But while the movie offers so much intensity and realism on the plate, “Lone Survivor” makes little to account for the emotional shares or some room for character story to fit in. It will be disappointing for those who are expecting greater moments than some pokey-joke on girlfriend, expensive wedding gifts or sharing old war stories.

    In the end, “Lone Survivor” is a competent and effective war movie that is extensively-researched, accurately portrayed, gripping and intensely made.

    "Lone Survivor" stars Mark Wahlberg ("The Fighter"), Taylor Kitsch ("Battleship"), Emile Hirsch ("Killer Joe"), Ben Foster ("Ain't Them Bodies Saints") and Eric Bana ("Munich"), presented by Universal Pictures via United International Pictures, and directed by Peter Berg ("Battleship") from his screenplay. The movie is rated 18 and is released in Malaysia since January 14, 2014. The movie runs about 121 minutes.

    Story: 4.0
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 5.0
    Effects: 5.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 17.1/20.0
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