Lone Survivor is based on the memoir “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10,” as written by former SEAL Marcus Luttrell. The film adaptation depicts the events leading up to – and following – Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg) undertaking a covert mission along with three of his peers. The objective: kill a high-level Taliban operative located in Afghanistan.
The film is a passion project for writer/director Peter Berg, who (as the unofficial story goes) agreed to direct Universal’s Battleship board game adaptation – on the condition that he would be able to make Lone Survivor thereafter, while the studio providing the necessary $upport for both projects. Universal has released a trailer for Lone Survivor online, presumably before the preview begins showing in theaters this weekend (attached to Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington’s buddy action vehicle 2 Guns).
In the Lone Survivor trailer, we are provided with a clear picture of the incident that resulted in Luttrell and his men being ambushed by some 250 Taliban soldiers in the Hindu Kush region (sidenote: in the real-world version, the squad ran into three kids and an old man). Most of the preview is focused on showing a reverence for the discipline and physically/emotionally-demanding nature of the SEAL lifestyle – with more of a grounded sincerity and less of the cheesy patriotism served up in Battleship.
Berg insisted on an accurate portrayal of Naval protocol in Battleship (despite the film’s generally cartoony nature), so it’s safe to assume that he’s done the proper research so as to fairly portray SEAL operation techniques in Lone Survivor. Combine that sense of authenticity with the inspired-by-true-events storyline – which (maybe) could avoid prompting the propaganda accusations leveled at other recent examinations of the American military (see: Act of Valor vs. Zero Dark Thirty for flip sides of that coin) – and Lone Survivor may prove to be a contender during the approaching end-of-year awards season. Universal seems to believe so much is possible, as the studio has slated Berg’s film for a limited theatrical run in December (for Oscar-qualifying reasons).
The Lone Survivor cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch (John Carter), Ben Foster (Contraband), Emile Hirsch (Killer Joe) and Eric Bana (Hanna). This film was written for the screen and directed by Peter Berg.
Lone Survivor begins a limited U.S. theatrical release on December 27th, 2013; it will expand to a wider release beginning January 10th, 2014.