LONE SURVIVOR (Peter Berg). 122 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (January 10). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: N
Actor-turned-director Peter Berg is a military fetishist plain and simple. If someone's wearing a uniform in one of his movies, that person (usually a white guy) is noble, good and right. Plus, he probably has really awesome biceps.
Berg's post-9/11 thriller The Kingdom celebrated the righteousness of Americans going to the Middle East and killing everyone who looked at them funny; 2012's preposterous Battleship included a number of actual military veterans in order to milk their service for a teaspoon of gravitas in the middle of a screeching sci-fi actioner.
Lone Survivor turns an actual 2005 incident - four Navy SEALs were stuck in the mountains of Afghanistan when a mission went sour - into an endless action sequence meant to celebrate brotherhood, honour and shooting people in the head.
If you want to watch a quartet of actors fire guns and fall off cliffs while wearing bloody prosthetics, this is the movie for you. Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch all commit fully to the project and bark their incoherent dialogue with conviction.
But there's nothing else. Berg doesn't have the patience for the political details of a Black Hawk Down or the psychological insights of a Jarhead. He just wants to celebrate the nobility of the U.S. military in the bloodiest way possible.
The most uncomfortable element of the movie, though? The closing montage of the real soldiers who lost their lives in the action shows that many of them were black or Latino, when the military of Lone Survivor is depicted as almost entirely white.