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5 Reasons the Left Is Hating on Lone Survivor—The Same 5 Reasons for Patriots to Love It

Reviewing the book years ago and knowing a movie was coming, I didn’t dream that a respected critic would admit the account was factual and call it implausible in the same breath.

by
David Forsmark

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January 12, 2014 - 11:00 am
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1. The Unabashed Heroism of the American Military—Even During a Screwup

Since the title gives it away, I don’t need to issue a SPOILER ALERT to say that Lone Survivor is about a mission gone wrong, in which only one SEAL makes it out alive.

Hollywood action movies tend to go one of two routes—the heroic cartoon, or the “realistic,” ironic, fatalistic film, where violence doesn’t solve anything and soldiers are forced to re-evaluate their former gung-ho attitude, and even the justness of their mission.

The second route is the way to the Oscars.

(Too many commentators put The Deer Hunter in that category, but I defy you to find one act by an American soldier in that film, or even by the officers or staff at the VA hospitals, which is less than valorous. Conservatives should embrace the movie, but that discussion is for another day.)

Lone Survivor is Black Hawk Down on a more personal level. After a botched mission to take out a terrorist commander, outnumbered American warriors face overwhelming odds of survival and kill an unbelievable number of enemies while trying to keep from being overrun.

Instead of a whole city coming after a couple of dozen soldiers, in Lone Survivor four Navy SEALs take on a whole al Qaeda militia, while stuck on the side of a mountain.

Steven Boone writes:

The film opens with a long montage of real-life Navy SEALs in training and ends with a slide show of SEALs and soldiers living full, happy lives off-duty, set to an emotional power ballad. What’s in between amounts to “The Passion of the Christ” for U.S. servicemen: a bloody historic episode recounted mainly in images of hardy young men being ripped apart, at screeching volume. Though Berg’s source material isn’t the New Testament, he often handles Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell’s account (via ghostwriter Patrick Robinson) of his doomed 2005 reconnaissance mission with the thunderous reverence Mel Gibson brought to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

That’s not even factually correct. The film ends with a montage of the characters in their real lives before the mission, while letting you know what they sacrificed to be there. Showing the photos of the real characters in a film is a common enough final-credits sequence, as can be seen in such movies as Gettysburg and Argo.

And enough with the The Passion of the Christ references already, as though it is some nadir of filmmaking to be trotted out whenever a liberal reviewer wants to mock a movie but can’t quite admit why it bothers him so much. But nearly every negative review of Lone Survivor brings up Gibson’s epic. (Hey, Bernie Goldberg, are you SURE these people don’t get together and determine the narrative?)

Boone goes on… and on:

“Lone Survivor” means well, but what it has to say about the costs of modern warfare is nothing new or especially illuminating. It’s cut from the same cloth that was once fashioned into the Pat Tillman legend and the Saving Private Lynch saga, honoring sacrifice in imagery that the American war machine can easily fashion into a recruitment commercial. “Lone Survivor” makes political interests superfluous to the religion of the warrior, which is all about enduring whatever hardship is thrown at you while protecting the brother at your side.

This is the cheapest of shots, associating the true story of Marcus Luttrell, which has held up and been vetted over the last seven years (George W. Bush awarded the Medal of Honor to mission leader Lt. Michael Murphy), with fog of war stories put out by the Defense Department before all the facts were in.

If Lone Survivor has a fault, it’s that it’s too authentic, with enough jargon and tactics talk to satisfy the military buff, and almost, but not quite, getting so caught in the details that an average viewer will drift off or get lost.

Admitedly, the account of the final rescue and the Pashtun villagers who act heroically is a bit synthesized (I actually thought the book’s account was even more dramatic), but that was probably for reasons of length.

For the most part, however, Lone Survivor deserves a place alongside Black Hawk Down and Zero Dark Thirty as a well-acted, superbly directed, and very well-done depiction of modern warfare and the Americans who get the job done.

In case you think I overstated the case of Boone’s agenda because we disagree about the merits of the film, check out this reply to a reader who took him to task for reading politics into a movie that avoids politics (unlike the book).

Ah, but politics *are* in every facet of life, including the movies. You might mean partisan politics, but filmmaking that glorifies the American war machine and its employees (let’s remember that, whatever their passions and sense of brotherhood, soldiers are paid to do a job) isn’t really a right or left proposition. It’s a weary Ho’wood tradition, carried into the new century with a jolt of Private Ryan/Black Hawk Down caffeine. A great many filmmakers at Berg’s level might be liberal on domestic issues but take a post-9/11 stance on such matters as the War on Terror: whatever it takes, whatever it costs to eliminate the threat….

So, yes. Not a movie for twits.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
And these liberal reviewers who thumbed their noses at this (in their opinion) horrible, jingoistic spectacle can't understand why the movie has made 80 million dollars so far. I mean, none of their friends would ever see a movie like this. These folks live in a bubble surrounded by their like minded friends: they've never seen a world where American soldiers are considered heroes worthy of movies that show their bravery.
And to be honest, they are not worthy of such brave men.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Out of every 100 men, 10 shouldn't even be there, 80 are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them for they make the battle. Ah, but the one. One is a Warrior, and he will bring the others back."
-- Heraclitus
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Too true. I appreciate the sentiment that comes with it, but random strangers coming up and thanking me for my service just doesn't feel right. Wanna thank me? Vote out the scumbags who keep sending me and mine to third world hellholes.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (68)
All Comments   (68)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
In the case of this movie Hollywood could not handle the truth. The truth does not fit into it's agenda.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the final sequence where the villagers fight off the Taliban and Luttrell is rescued is a "bit synthesized"?! It's 100% false!

Every part of the story after the villagers first take in Luttrell is wrong and entirely made up. There was no gun battle, no zooming Apache gunships, no heavily armed soldier coming in to the village. There was no gun battle between the villagers and the Taliban.

American representatives finally made it to the village based on the note carried to the American base, had tea with village elders, and Luttrell basically walked out.

You betray your own bias by downplaying a major falsification of the facts in this movie. Unfortunately, 99.99% of peope will now think this is what really happened, as they'll never read the book or won't have access to the classified after-action report, as I do.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
This "factual but implausible" charge makes me think of this hilarious critique of the new "World War II" show on the so-called History Channel:

http://squid314.livejournal.com/275614.html

"So yeah. Stay away from the History Channel. Unlike most of the other networks, they don't even try to make their stuff believable."
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn’t dream that a respected critic would admit the account was factual and call it implausible in the same breath.

It didn't surprise me, if only because I immediately recognize "True but Implausible" as the mirror image of "Fake but Accurate".
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
True, but Richard Corliss is not that reliably PC. He was among the first major critics to praise Clint Eastwood while Pauline Kael and the rest of the nabobs were calling him a fascist.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, the critics are saying the story is accurate, but fake?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dang, you beat me by 12 minutes.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why do Americans love this film so much that it made over 80 million dollars? The answer may be that they respect our armed forces, perhaps they just like a good war story. But I think they are looking for a change from the leftist, "the war is unjust attitude and the military is screwed up" attitude. America has had it with our politicians and is looking for bona fide heroes with whom we can place our trust and hope. Lord knows there are no heroes and very few patriots in Washington today and Americans just want to see someone who believes in America, who will fight for America, who believe in America and will defend America and all we stand for instead of lying and apologizing about America.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
the rules of engagement caused RedWing to fail

they should have killed the watchmen, posing as shepherds

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
And these liberal reviewers who thumbed their noses at this (in their opinion) horrible, jingoistic spectacle can't understand why the movie has made 80 million dollars so far. I mean, none of their friends would ever see a movie like this. These folks live in a bubble surrounded by their like minded friends: they've never seen a world where American soldiers are considered heroes worthy of movies that show their bravery.
And to be honest, they are not worthy of such brave men.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is why 80% of the American public does not believe one word written by the President's cheerleaders in the media. That simply means that the vast majority of us see them in their true light. They are lying, evil cowards. Even as their employers lose money hand over fist for their views, they keep on spouting their leftist drivel. And while I'm so angry, isn't it about time the cowardly military brass grow a set and start telling us what is really going on.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Re. your headline: "the left is HATING ON"...really? Hating on? Has ghetto lingo gone mainstream now? Why do you contribute to the dumbing down of our language? Is this an attempt to appear "with it" and cool?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's meant to be a little tongue in cheek, a jab considered who it's talking about. Sorry you didn't get it.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, trust me I get it, my friend. And my comment stands as written. You don't like being called out on your immature nonsense, and you are very thin skinned. If you have something to write, write about it like an adult. But thank you for your weak attempt at a condescending response.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pots and kettles my friend.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spreading the ghetto filth does not serve liberty's interests.


Read up on "deconstructionism".

39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ghetto filth? Over react much? And you have misapplied your six syllable word here. That has nothing to do with how you are trying to apply it.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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