Saturday, January 18, 2014


Written & Directed By: Peter Berg 
Based On The Novel By: Marcus Lutrrell & Patrick Robinson 
Cinematography By: Tobias A. Schliessler 
Editor: Colby Parker Jr. 

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Yousef Azami, Alexander Ludwig, Jerry Ferrara, Peter Berg

Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal, and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd, in late June 2005. After running into mountain herders and capturing them, they were left with no choice but to follow their rules of engagement or be imprisoned. Now Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

Well other then the title pretty much giving away the ending and the story. The film leaves you to see how they get there.

I will say for the film it is a fascinating tale of survival. I didn't find myself as engaged in the story as I thought it would. I can't pinpoint the problem, but I find the movie kind of forgettable. It seems like a story that would be more interesting to read about and know all the details. As this film really leaves some gaping moments.

It's a film that fully engages you while you are watching it, but once it is over you find yourself forgetting about any particular scenes, but the story does stay in your head.

It might be because we have seen and felt Mark Wahlberg play this type of role and star in this type of movie that his star baggage makes the film feel like a typical vehicle for him.

Though as the film plays. I found myself wanting to know about the other characters. As the film is true to life the filmmakers only have enough room to stray a bit from the true story to make the film a respectful representation of what happened.

The other characters get enough characterization that you care about them when in peril and once it is time for them to perish you do feel more of a connection and sadness. Then let's say your typical death in a horror film. These are not faceless infantry men in a war film whose death are part of the background. We see the heroic acts they commit and the pain they are made to endure before their unfortunate deaths.

I don't want to insult or betray their service or the empty of them by attacking so much what is wrong or the quality of the film. Which is honestly not bad.

Before filming began, director Peter Berg visited the families of the dead. The father of Danny Dietz, played by Emile Hirsch, read him an autopsy report detailing the 11 bullets that tore through his son. "He was reading that and crying," says Berg, "and then he said, 'That's who my son was. That's how hard he fought. Make sure you get that right.'"

If this was a Hollywood created story. I can honestly say other then because of the star system where usually the biggest name is the survivor. I wouldn't have expected Mark Wahlberg's character to be the survivor as written he isn't the most interesting character, nor for a twist is he the least likely to survive. That is just how life and the world seem to work at times that makes who loves an dies unpredictable.

Sure the film looks good, but when I begin to notice or note how good the film looks without really having nothing much to say about the rest of the film and it's qualities is like. when you are looking for a mate of course at first you have to be attracted, but once you realize that the only truly attractive part about them is their appearance you have a decision to make. If that is all you want and all you are looking for that is fine. As long as you are happy, but if you want something of some substance. No matter how good the looks are there will always be something that you feel is missing and after awhile the looks might not be good enough to you or fade as you will lose interest. You might begin to lose interest after you realize there is not much else to them. Peter Berg had planned to make this film before Battleship, but Universal Pictures wanted him to reverse the priorities, and he relented.

Was made relatively cheaply by writer/director Peter Berg who labored to make it happen over five years. Involved only a 42-day shoot and $40 million budget. Stars Taylor Kitsch and Mark Wahlberg worked at a discount, as did Berg, for the mandatory Directors Guild minimum salary of $17,000 a week.

I will say the violence in the film is shocking and hard to sit through even for a war/combat film. As the film isn't gratuitous with it's violence, but it does put a lot of detail into the pain and suffering and consequences of violence. No just flesh wounds here. No there is digging and pulling out of things. Setting bones and such. It doesn't turn a blind eye. It does raise the bar in that manner.

I have never been in the armed services and some have accused the film of being propaganda. I can see the point they are trying to make though I believe the told is truthfully told from the facts that are known and since it is based on the survivors story from his perspective. Director peter berg has never hidden his interest and a certain loyalty tone armed forces. That might be why that accusation is thrown at the film. As his directing filmography revolves around a certain machismo and action oriented films, which usually involve the armed forces or some kind of military and definitely guns. In a manner that going to see a film he has directed you know what you are going to get most likely (battleship included) he's not a bad director and as a former actor brings that quality of knowing what he needs out of an actor for a performance and guiding him there as well as constructions good action sequences and memorable visuals.

The film gives you more hen the typical action film, but doesn't reach the heights to make it exceptional or memorable, Unfortunately bringing a great story down to average, while trying to insert something different. That still doesn't bring it up to the level I should be. It's a grand story that feels small.

There are certain audiences who will love this film because they have never seen something exceptional and are used to mediocre, you will find something good that might not be the best because you are used to average that it is the best to you. Once usually you have tasted something exquisite you begin to question all that came before. Then again we all have different tastes.

This is a film and story I respect more then I can say I enjoyed. Then again I wonder if I am really the intended audience for the film?

Wait for cable, though probably more powerful in the theater.

Grade: B-

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