Saturday, June 16, 2018
Things To Do

Review: Hard to turn away from 'Lone Survivor'

Lone Survivor is a movie equating patriotism with masochism. Not only for a band of U.S. Navy SEAL brothers trapped in a Taliban firefight but audiences enduring Peter Berg's graphic, gripping re-enactment of the event. We're practically held hostage by appreciation for the sacrifices of troops like these, obligated to watch a grisly tribute.

It isn't a pleasant experience, as war shouldn't be. Lone Survivor also isn't as essential as Berg's passion for the project obviously makes him believe it to be. He's not drawn by the story's complexity; this and Captain Phillips are similarly tense movies sprung from real-life crises of duty that could be anticipated. Nor does he focus on calamity created by the fog of war, like this movie's closest relative, Black Hawk Down.

Berg is solely interested in the bond between warriors, not who they are or why they fight but simply that they fight. Lone Survivor will resonate with viewers familiar with combat instinct and the attachments it forges. However, this is nothing more than a well-executed action movie whose basis in fact contrasts with its shortage of details about who we're watching bleed. The Call of Duty crowd will be equally moved.

Lone Survivor is adapted from the Afghan War memoir of Marcus Luttrell (played typically tough by Mark Wahlberg), a member of SEAL Team 10 that in 2005 was assigned to capture or kill a Taliban leader. The mission was compromised when passing goat herders discovered the soldiers. Following rules of engagement with civilians, the herders were released. Within an hour the four SEALs were under fire, scrambling for cover with shredded flesh and shattered bones. A rescue helicopter was shot down, killing 16 more soldiers.

Luttrell was the sole survivor, rescued by Afghan villagers honoring a tradition of protecting strangers from enemies. Berg treats this unlikely rescue almost as an afterthought, and ignores the lasting relationship between Luttrell and his main savior until the final photo of an end credit montage. I'd prefer exploring that unique connection to watching stunt men tumbling down treacherous cliffs for a third time, or another batch of first-person kill shots.

Conveying a visceral sense of warfare's terror is what Berg chiefly seeks, and on that level Lone Survivor handily succeeds. Turning away would be un-American. We're urged to recognize the valor and patriotism of these warriors solely through painstaking depictions of how they suffered, in combat and training to get there. Surely there's more to their legacies than that.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

Comments

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

St. Pete Pride: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coco Montrese of RuPaulís Drag Race and f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Top things to do on Saturday in Tampa Bay

Top things to do on Saturday in Tampa Bay

Our editors' picks.
Published: 06/16/18

Sports on TV/radio for Saturday, June 16

TODAYArena FootballPhiladelphia at Albany6 p.m.CBSSNAutosTrucks: Iowa 250 qualifying4:30 p.m.FS2Trucks: Iowa 2507 p.m.FS1BaseballRays at Yankees1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Orioles4 p.m.FSFTwins at Indians4 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners8 p.m.FoxCFLHa...
Published: 06/15/18
Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG ó In his vision for this weekend, Connor Coyle is standing in the ring at the Coliseum, and the referee is raising his gloved fist.Heís got a National Boxing Association middleweight championship belt around his waist, the first of sev...
Published: 06/15/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on June 16

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on June 16

Maroon 5: Three-time Grammy award-winning multiplatinum band hits the stage with opener Julia Michaels, a best new artist Grammy nominee and prodigious songwriter who contributed to a couple of new songs on Red Pill Blues. 8 p.m. Amalie Arena, 401 Ch...
Published: 06/15/18
Visions of Daliís Spain: Photographer Clyde Butcher visits the surrealistís homeland

Visions of Daliís Spain: Photographer Clyde Butcher visits the surrealistís homeland

The museum commissioned Butcher to travel to Spain to photograph scenes in the village of Cadaqués, where Dalí spent summers while growing up, Dalí’s house in Port Lligat and the rugged region of Cap de Creus – all areas th...
Published: 06/15/18
Top things to do Sunday in Tampa Bay

Top things to do Sunday in Tampa Bay

Here are our editors' picks.
Published: 06/15/18
'Incredibles 2' might be better than the original

'Incredibles 2' might be better than the original

Some thoughts on the sequel, now in theaters.
Published: 06/15/18
5 fiction writers who turned their attention to Donald Trump

5 fiction writers who turned their attention to Donald Trump

The president gets a mention in these novels.
Published: 06/15/18