One of best war movies I've ever seen, up there with The Hurt Locker and surpassing others like Black Hawk Down and War Horse. Based on the true story of the failed Operation Red Wings, US Navy Seals Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz, Matt Axelson and Marcus Luttrell are ambushed and forced to fight an army of Taliban lead by Ahmad Shah whom they are trying to capture.
This is Peter Berg's best film, I loved The Kingdom and Battleship but this tense adventure totally blasts those two out the water. The realism, authenticity, unabashed patriotism and themes of brotherhood are powerful and pure, there's no Hollywood cheese and forcefulness, just gritting storytelling, top acting and some defining action movie sequences. Taylor Kitsch delivers a career best, surpassing his great performance seen in Savages. Mark Wahlberg is also at his absolute best fully fleshing out his role, he looks the part and is utterly convincing and at times delivers a few dark laughs when needed. Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch as well deliver career bests, Peter Berg has pulled their talent out the bag and it shows, I also thought Alexander Ludwig was exceptional too, his narration over the preparation montage gets the blood pumping!
Boasting one of the best firefights in a movie, you are thrown right in the middle of the bullet ridden attack. The brutality, gun wounds, shots to the body and physical damage takes a toll not only on the characters but for you as the viewer, the crunches and falls are killer and teeth gritting to the point you're begging for the pain to stop, this effect proves how effective and harrowing this filmmaking is and it demands to be seen. These men aren't superheroes, they're humans, but heroes in the work, fighting for each other and country, damn patriotism stuck with me on this one.
I teared up a few times, when Dietz and Murphy died above the mountain top the power here is overwhelming. The soundtrack by Steve Jablonsky and Explosions In The Sky “Waking Up” left me in tears, as did the beautiful end credits scene which shows all the fallen soldiers, and Luttrell’s reunion with his saviour. It’s a real big shame that this masterpiece didn't win at the Oscars, because I feel the performances, direction, story, cinematography, editing and sound design are awards worthy, pretty much the entire movie is on point!