"Lone Survivor" Review


“Lone Survivor” is a pulse pounding, based on a true story, love letter to the Navy Seals. The opening alone will make you want to sign up to be amongst the elite. It’s the rest of the film that gives a glimpse of a portion of what goes on during missions while we sleep peacefully and go about our lives. By the end, after you’re finished crying (or trying to be tough and hold it back) it will make you want to call your friend in the armed forces and thank them for their service. 

Chief Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) is the first face we see after the opening montage, and it’s bloody. As he appears to flatline, the movie flashes back to June 28, 2005. Brothers in arms on Bagram base in Afghanistan race one another, joke with one another, and get serious when orders are handed down to them for Operation Red Wings.  

The operation was supposed to be simple. Four Seals would go behind enemy lines to get reconnaissance and return to base. Only what was supposed to be a small group of insurgents turned out to be a small army. While in the mountains, the group runs into three herders and are faced with a moral decision to kill or possibly be killed. After a quick group debate, the men choose the moral decision over tactical. The ramifications of their decision play out in a bloody shoot out leaving a lone survivor. 


Director Peter Berg (“The Kingdom”) has a huge respect for the military, and the way he unfolds the story proves it. The real life Marcus Luttrell handpicked Berg to direct the film after seeing “The Kingdom” and noticing his attention to detail in the film. It’s the little details that matter here as well. Whether it’s a look shared between brothers, the bone crushing impact of a fall, or the impact of a bullet on the human body, the details are what draws you in to the film. The details of the film, are what makes up for some of its heavy handed patriotism, and shines light on the real villain...war itself. 

Whether you check it out in theaters or wait until it comes out on DVD, “Lone Survivor” is worth seeing. The story told, is one that Marcus Luttrell felt had to be told to honor his fallen brothers. Now that it’s out, in his own words, “mission accomplished”.


Rating: B



Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.