copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Holy shit!………

You get so many action movies nowadays following the same formula. When you watch one of them you know that just when the good guy is about to get overcome by the enemy, the backup arrives and helps him. This formula desensitizes you.

But when a movie is based on a real story, the good guys do not always come on time. They do not come in an hour; they do not come in a day; and if they come, they are not invincible. Real problems do not follow formulas. Real life is sobering in its beauty and its horror.

Lone Survivor does not have a very original or interesting premise for an action movie. A squad of US navy SEALs is dispatched on an assassination mission. Things do not go as planned. Everything is centered around this one situation and not much else.

However, it is the quality of the cinematography, solid acting and good action that makes this such a great film.

Out of all the actors getting to play a part not one was bad. Not one fakes it. It feels that everyone is trying to do their best, including the random sheep herder No. 2.

The film also looks gorgeous. It didn't have to. It does. The Afghanistan these guys are in is fake because the entire movie was shot in the United States, but it looks authentic and breathtaking.

The action is raw and graphic, in a specific way. It is not the kind of violence where guts spill on the floor like in all those tired horror movies. Rather, it is about the gore of real life, like tumbling down a cliff-side and having to fight for your life after already having been shot. Again, you can feel that the people have tried to do a good job. You know just how much they tried? Broken ribs and punctured lungs were involved in the making of this movie!

Ithere are however 2 problems with this film.

One is that it has a self-imposing limit on how big or interesting it can be. It is a story about one military operation and nothing else. There are no background stories for the characters, no side plots, and no development in the relationships between the characters.

I remember that as a kid, I was really fascinated by the military operations and I once wrote a story, as good as I could at my age, about an imaginary military mission. Even as I was writing it, I realised that it can never be truly interesting to read because the range of the story is too small. And this film underlines that same problem. What makes it even worse is that the title of this film gives away the ending. It is basically a giant spoiler so the already thin story is now even more transparent.

But it is a testament to the movie's quality that, even though the movie gives almost no background information to the characters, it still managed to really make me care about them. Even with weights on its legs, the film still manages to make such an interesting run.

The other problem is something that I was not even going to mention originally, but I found that a lot of people noticed this issue just like me, so clearly it is a noticeable issue worth pointing out. The issue involves a bit of a spoiler so I will keep the details to myself, but basically, at one point in the movie the characters do something pretty stupid and their action is central to the plot, so the stupid is noticeable. If the movie was just a made up action flick then the plot hole could be dismissed as just that, but what makes this particular stupidity worrying is that this is supposed to be what actually happened in real life according to the real lone survivor and the real life is not supposed to have plot holes. That leaves us with troubling possibilities: either America’s best warriors are also the world’s dumbest or the real lone survivor lied about what really happened on that fateful day, which calls the whole movie into question. It calls the honorable intentions behind the making of this movie into question. There is of course a third possibility that some details have simply been left out or not well told. Either way, it was distracting.

Lone Survivor is a sobering well shot action flick with good characters but has problems with the story.

I recommend seeing this, as it is a…different sort of movie you do not see very often.

Lone Survivor