Lone Survivor

Released on January 2013 0 comments

When this year’s Academy Award noms dropped for best picture there was a collective groan. Considering the past ten years, it’s hard to imagine, but 2013 might be weakest slate yet.

Admittedly, we haven’t seen them all, only most, and those was more than enough for us. Then this weekend we saw the best movie of the season, and we were once again reminded that the Academy has its collective dome up its collective rear, because this film received no serious nominations.

“Lone Survivor” is the companion film to Marcus Luttrell’s brutal 2013 tale of Operation Redwing, which cost the lives of several members of Seal Team 10. Peter Berg’s direction isn’t flashy and doesn’t have to be. The narrative carries all the weight, especially within the stories of what it takes to be part of an elite unit. Beyond the missions, the men appear to lead methodical and even boring lives, amusing themselves at the expense of new members and skyping with wives and girlfriends. One even stresses for days over a paint-chip color chart, unable to make a decision regarding a room in a home thousands of miles away.

When it is time to move out, a haunting change takes over, pulling their minds out of domestic pleasures and into the calculating focus needed to succeed and survive. As the film heartbreakingly shows, an abundance of ability and skill sometimes isn’t enough to keep them alive.

Survivor leaves you feeling as it should, helpless, wrung-out, and finally hopeful, due in no small part to a heroic act from an Afghan villager. Survivor humanizes many, but none more than the Seals, who are too often viewed through a cartoonish prism created by low-rent media hucksters, those who’ve never even been in a street fight, must less a life-threatening situation. Despite a few excellent exceptions, films about war and those who wage it are too often depicted with one-dimensional characterizations and hopelessly overdone battle scenes.

“Lone Survivor” goes a long way to setting the record straight. The fact that it didn’t resonate with the Oscar idiots is further proof that the Industry continues to slip on the sludge of its own mediocrity.