Lone Survivor has been a hit at the box office since it was released on January 10, not only among Penn Staters, but nationwide. The movie depicts the true story of a four-man Navy SEAL team on a mission in Afghanistan, and stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, the real life “lone survivor,” along with Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster as the other members of Luttrell’s SEAL team.
The four SEALs were on a mission to eliminate a senior-level Taliban commander operating out of a village in the mountainous Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. The team was lead by Penn State grad, Lieutenant Michael Murphy, played in the film by Taylor Kitsch. The movie focuses primarily on their mission, from the initial planning stages, through their eventual deployment, reconnaissance, discovery, and the ensuing gunfight.
As the team leader, Murphy played a key role in the mission and in the film. While performing reconnaissance on a mountainside overlooking the village, the SEALs were discovered by local goat herders, who were quickly apprehended by the SEALs . Faced with the choice of killing their captives and ensuring the group’s safety, or letting them go and rolling the dice, the deadlock vote was broken by Murphy making the call to not kill innocent civilians, and let them go.
It is presumed that the herders immediately informed the Taliban of the SEALs presence, as the SEALs were soon surrounded and outnumbered by enemy forces, and a bloody gun battle erupted. When it became clear that the SEALs were not going to overcome the Taliban soldiers rapidly advancing on their position, and after having thrown themselves down the mountainside to avoid enemy fire, Murphy decided to act in an attempt to save his mens’ lives.
Standing up from behind cover and exposing himself to enemy fire, and moving into an open clearing to get a signal on the satellite phone he was carrying, Murphy made the call that eventually saved Marcus Luttrell’s life, selflessly sacrificing himself so that his teammate could survive.
Lone Survivor isn’t a grandiose war movie. It isn’t a large-scale movie with overarching story lines like Saving Private Ryan. Instead, it’s a more intimate, gritty film that depicts the horrors of one mission gone horribly wrong. If it had to be compared to another war movie, Black Hawk Down is what comes to mind.
The movie depicts the hell of war in extreme detail. If you’re squeamish or tend to shy away from violent movies, then Lone Survivor isn’t for you. Every bloody wound a SEAL sustains is shown in full detail, from bullet holes to compound bone fractures protruding from a SEALs leg.
However, if you can stomach the blood and violence, Lone Survivor is a compelling film that is worth seeing. Watching Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s heroic acts depicted on screen, and knowing he actually made those fateful steps that ended his life and saved another’s, was a gut-wrenching experience that is worth experiencing by all Penn Staters.