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Klavan On The Culture

Lone Survivor Is Intense — But Read the Book!

January 14th, 2014 - 5:37 am

In a surprise to liberal media outlets and no one else, the film Lone Survivor is cleaning up at the box office. This is a surprise to media lefties because, as the New York Times put it with near radiant gormlessness, “Moviegoers have stubbornly refused to care about war movies set in Afghanistan.” It apparently never occurred to the Times that stubborn moviegoers just didn’t want to see war movies like Lions for Lambs in which America was falsely made out to be the villain!

But the folks are showing up for this baby, even despite the occasional Pajama Boy critic whining into his cocoa about having to watch American heroes being heroic in the battle against Islamist bad guys. Reality makes their tartan singlets itchy, I guess.

Even PJBs who, like the Times‘ A.O. Scott, made sure to hint in their reviews at their ever-so-nuanced disapproval of patriotism, heroism and fighting bad guys have been forced to admit the movie’s central battle scene is powerful and effective. It’s a well-directed, gripping, intense tribute to the men who keep America safe for the movie critics who complain about them.

The picture, as you no doubt know, is director Peter Berg’s version of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s memoir of a good mission gone bad in Afghanistan. Luttrell and his fellow SEALs were sent out to kill a high-profile Islamist terrorist but were unfortunately spotted by two goatherds and a small boy. The Americans made the merciful but unwise decision to spare the civilians, who proceeded to betray their position to the Taliban. The title tells you what happened.

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Top Rated Comments   
Unfortunately, the movie and the book both demonstrate the craven stupidity of our ROEs. At one point the SEALS have the leader of the bad guys, and about 20 of his militia configured dead to rights in their spotting scope, at least a couple of miles of way. They have the guy identified, along with his top lieutenants.

Sweet Jesus, are we EVER going to learn at that point what is needed is a B-52 circling above, ready to pulverize the village with 10 or so 500 pound smart bombs?

12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Marcus Luttrell is lucky to be in this world. He is Blessed by GOD, and he knows it. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his lovely wife Melanie in our studios @ Liveshots Houston. They are very special, driven people. They want America to know and understand the sacrifices our fighting men and women make every day. Support the troops. GOD bless and keep ALL of them safe. Amen.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hereby transfer my entire schoolgirl crush from Bill Whittle with his "precious snowflakes" comment to Andrew Klavan, for what has to be the most inspired phrase of all times, "near radiant gormlessness". Well played, Mr. Klavan. Well played, indeed.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, the movie and the book both demonstrate the craven stupidity of our ROEs. At one point the SEALS have the leader of the bad guys, and about 20 of his militia configured dead to rights in their spotting scope, at least a couple of miles of way. They have the guy identified, along with his top lieutenants.

Sweet Jesus, are we EVER going to learn at that point what is needed is a B-52 circling above, ready to pulverize the village with 10 or so 500 pound smart bombs?

12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
No we're never going to learn the art of war due to Obama's stupid rules of engagement and PC commanders on the ground.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, great movie. Saw it last weekend. Never been a Mark Wahlberg fan, but he really got it right on this one!!
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
And after you see and read this, see Murph The Protector, the documentary about Michael Murphy, the SEAL who was killed after calling for backup. Available at Walmart, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon and for download at murphmovie.com.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wahlberg often surprises me.
I think he has real talent.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's strange about his selection is that Lutrell is 6'5" compared to the generously put 5' 8" Wahlberg. Surprised they didn't try to find a better physical fit. I still haven't seen it, but hopefully will soon. The book is good too btw.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Loved the movie. Had to do a little further reading up because the final firefight in the village had me slightly credulous.

Said firefight never happened, among other creative departures from the book. Came across an Ed Darack who claims in his book Victory Point (acclaimed in-depth account of Op Red Wings and the one that proceeded it), that enemy forces actually numbered 8-10. 8-10! Four elite Navy SEALs got pummeled by a force barely more than twice their number? I don't know what to make of this. This author states this in response to Luttrell's increasingly exaggerated estimate of enemy strength, 25-40 in the first after action report, all the way up to "about 200" after the release of the movie. Oh, and apparently the Sole Survivor book was ghostwritten entirely by a fiction writer.

I'm glad this story's getting out and doing well, Luttrell's really making it count that's for sure. My only peeve is the overreach of the creative licence in this case. Surely the truth doesn't need this much contorting? I'm a little disappointed in some of the director's choices.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe the award citations give enemy totals of at least 30. I also read that PO1 Luttrell cited a figure of a couple of hundred hostiles, but that figure could include all hostiles in the area (hostile village militias, as well as upper tier insurgents). Luttrell's team would also have had to take them into account, even if they were not line-of-sight.

I agree that the village attack scene was overkill and the story of the SEALs and the heroic Afghan villagers was story enough.

All in all, a wonderful movie. If it doesn't get lots of awards that is a statement about our culture.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I read the book straight through - twice. I couldn't put it down - and afterward kept it on my nightstand for a couple of years to remind me daily of the risk men take to serve their country.

Marcus' mission is accomplished. America at large will now know his brothers.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or listen to the audiobook. If you don't mind crying in public.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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