I'm not one to usually lean toward war movies. What comes to mind is over-the-top explosions, blood, guts, sweaty men, war tanks and camouflage. But after seeing "Lone Survivor", I have a totally different perception and deeply found respect for the true survivors of war, and especially Marcus Luttrell and his team of heroic Navy SEALS.
The movie is based on the biography and re-enactment of Marcus Luttrell's life-changing experience as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. He and his team of 3 strong Navy SEALS set off to complete the mission 'Operation Red Wings': to find and kill a highly wanted Al Qaeda leader who had murdered a number of American soldiers. When they set up base in the treacherous slopes of Sawtalo Sar, high up in harsh mountains of Afghanistan, they were startled by a herd of goats and some unarmed civilians. The team was then faced with the detrimental decision to either kill them, capture and interrogate them (however deserting the mission) or to set them free. Because the villagers were unarmed and deemed no apparent threat to them, it would greatly jeopardize the SEAL'S lives legally back home if they killed them. Therefore the team agreed to set them free under the final decision of Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy.
Not long after, the notorious Taliban enemy is seen lining the crest of the mountains, the shaft of their AK47's gleaming in the afternoon sun. Seconds later the outnumbered soldiers are ambushed and began a merciless battle of gunfight which lasted for countless hours. Slowly his team mates succumb to their incredibly-long survived wounds one by one, and Marcus is left to escape (hence the name, 'Lone Survivor') the Afghan forest alone, all the while still being heavily shot at by savage gunfire as he clambered down dagger-like rocks. Sporting broken bones, dislocations, open wounds, gun shot wounds, head injuries and in an ear shot to extremely loud weapon decibels, he kept pushing ahead. By the time he reaches a chance to possibly get out he is met by an Afghan villager, whom Marcus deems an enemy and has no qualms in letting a grenade off; he had lost his brothers and had nothing left anyway.
But the villager is a Pashtun and strictly follows the sacred Pashtunwali code, which has been honored for thousands of years in middle eastern countries. It is a code where no matter what, a Pashtun must show hospitality and genuine love for his neighbor or guest. In his case, his guest was an American soldier, however even when faced with the Taliban, the villager never gave Marcus up, despite receiving bribes and even death threats. He strongly held his ground, honoring the code of his ancestors.
This is where we see honor, respect and love come into the film, although Marcus is bloodied, injured, close to death and alone, this foreigner risks his family and life for him.
If it wasn't for Mohammad Gulab, Marcus Luttrell wouldn't be alive. He demonstrated an unconditional love and respect for his people and for Marcus, despite being "the enemy".
This film is harrowing, close-to-real-life and gruesome. It truly depicts the raw essence of modern day war and of what these four brave men went through. You truly felt some relative form of empathy as the setting, the actors, the stunts and the way the story was respectfully retold made you feel you could understand and actually visualize what happened on that mountain.
As the film finishes, the credits begin and are used as a respectful yet extremely moving slideshow of photos, introducing the real men who perished at the hands of this tragic battle, however not in vain. The song "We can be heroes" completes the commemorative clip.
"Lone Survivor" is more of a moving biopic than a typical war film. It closely re-enacts Luttrell's seemingly endless struggle to evade the enemy, the tragic loss of his brothers in battle, the strength and nobility of those men who sacrificed their lives so he might have a chance and the bittersweet realization that he had survived, only because of the bravery of his men and the heart of one man who could still, even through the darkness of his bloodied homeland, demonstrate a tiny portion of love without any intention behind it.
This movie will shake you to your core, and with no filter entering your heart and soul with the depth of a dagger, awakening your deepest emotions and sparking your mind and body with a new found level of respect, strength and gratitude for these heroic human beings and the way love can still glimmer through even the most hopeless of times.