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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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COLUMN: ‘Lone Survivor:’ a tense and honorable salute

Sia DeyKoontz
Drew Coffey

When turning on this movie, I assumed it would be another action-packed war film with similar attributes to “Black Hawk Down” or “Pearl Harbor.” 

What I got was a surprisingly thought-provoking and thematically tragic story of four American soldiers going against the Taliban army. 

The true story follows a group of soldiers– Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz, Matt Axelson and Marcus Luttrell– on their mission within an Afghanistan forest where an unsuccessful United States Navy SEALs mission called Operation Red Wings turns into a fight for survival. 

The film stars a star-studded cast with Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch and was directed by Peter Berg. 

To start, the acting and chemistry between all the characters are among the highlights of this film. 

They realistically feel like brothers who spend every hour of every day with each other. When they have their backs to the wall in Afghanistan, that element is even more on display. 

The moral dilemma the four soldiers have during their mission that sets off a violent chain of events is where this film is different from other war films. 

While hiding, the soldiers are found by three civilians of a Taliban village, and the Americans take them hostage. 

Now the soldiers are left with a hard choice: kill all the civilians to avoid being found or let them go and risk the danger of the violent army. 

It is this decision that splits the group with Wahlberg’s character, Marcus Luttrell, not wanting to kill innocent people and the others thinking about how it will affect the mission. 

The dialogue and poignant dilemma they find themselves in captivate the audience, as you can understandably see both sides of this possibly life-threatening decision. 

The soldiers decide to let them go, and as you may expect, the Taliban are quickly on their tail. 

What comes after is a non-stop, bloody and extremely tense segment of the film where the soldiers are running and falling through the forest with no signs of escape. 

The quick and shaky editing makes it feel like an attack on the senses. You feel almost in their shoes as bullets zip by their heads. 

And when those bullets finally find their targets, you certainly wince at it. 

Tragically, the brave soldiers begin to get picked off one by one, leaving Marcus Luttrell to try to survive by himself. 

Each of their death scenes is shown with great respect and poise, accurately framing them as people who fought until the very end. 

Certain films like the previously mentioned “Pearl Harbor” found criticism in their portrayal of historic violence and loss of life. However, “Lone Survivor’s” violence is aimed at the audience to actively experience the extremely daunting situation these soldiers found themselves in. 

All of the actors give great performances, with Wahlberg becoming a standout by the end of the film. The look of shock and fear accompanied by stoic patriotism makes you root for them even though you can predict their nearing end. 

By the end of the film, you feel exhausted but poignantly impacted. The story of these four soldiers is a very important story to tell on the big screen to show the brave sacrifices of American soldiers. 


My overall rating: 4.5/5 


Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributor
Drew Coffey, Reporter, Columnist
Drew is a senior television and video production major. He previously served as a reporter for The News.

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