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Lone Survivor Movie Review 

Photo by: Rotten Tomatoes

This present day military story takes viewers into the world that most Americans may not see every day.

Based on a true story, on the night of June 27, 2005, an MH-47 Special Operations aircraft dropped a four-man Navy SEAL investigation and surveillance team between a pair of Afghani Mountain peaks of Kunar Province of Afghanistan. This brave, courageous mission was labeled Operation Red Wing.

This is a movie that challenges the viewer to think about the virtues of service to country, self-sacrificial brotherhood, bravery and honor. It glorifies the true ability of some extraordinary men to drive themselves to near-impossible levels of mental and physical toughness.

Team Spartan was made up of Corpsman 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, team leader Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson.  These men were all seasoned professionals prepared and ready to do their job and hike the steep, rugged mile and a half which was necessary to reach their destination.

When reaching the particular area of interest, the SEALs followed the protocol, set up mountainside and got into their watch positions.  Soon they had spotted their target, Taliban terrorist leader Ahmed Shahd, who was walking down the dirt streets of a village in their site. There was a major communication problem.  After repeated attempts they could not establish clear radio signal with the United States home base. It was then decided that they should try to get connection after a few hours, as per protocol.

This is when everything fell apart.  Accidentally, Team Spartan was revealed by three local goatherds or a person who herds goats for vocational reasons.  The SEALs immediately had their guard up and were ready to fire.  After determining that the men were civilians, they were faced with an obvious dilemma.  Now that their cover had been blown, what should they do in this situation? If they decide to let all of these men go, there was a good chance that they would run to the Taliban army and inform them that they were there.  This then would leave the SEALs fully exposed and without back-up and no contact with the home base. On the other hand, they knew it would be all over the news if they killed these truly innocent unarmed goatherds, which could be morally wrong and even declared as a war crime.

After going back and forth, leader Lt. Murphy made a decision and ordered the men released, following the code of the rules of civilian engagement. From there, the Navy SEALs began moving to a point where they may regain radio connection.

Two hours later, the Taliban ambush arrived in full force from three sides.  The story goes on to recount the real-life failed U.S. military operation, which has been called the worst tragedy in the history of the Navy SEALs and ultimately claimed the lives of 19 Americans.  The movie will give viewers chills and open one’s eyes to the sacrifices of these Americans.

“The movie made me feel proud of our military,” Granit Valley resident Mary Houtmann said.

“Those women and men who put their lives on the line for us have my utmost respect and I couldn’t be more thankful.  Those four men never gave up, it wasn’t an option.”

Director Peter Berg takes this tragic scenario straight from the “Lone Survivor,” Marcus Luttrell’s memoirs, and creates a realistic depiction of this situation.  It is so gruesome, life-like and disturbingly brutal, it make you think, is this real life? Does this really happen?

As “We can be Heroes, just for one day,” by David Bowie plays in the last scene, not only does this extremely graphic movie leave viewers in awe but it also shows the courageousness of how these men put themselves in harm’s way to fight for freedom and justice.

Survivor Marcus Luttrell set up a non-profit to help veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder and Traumatic Brain injuries.  For more information go to:

Lion’s Eye Editor

Victoria Marotta,


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