There are lots of different ways to make war movies: see the conflict from the top down, or make either a patriotic or anti-war statement, or just blow up lots of stuff so it looks cool. Writer-director Peter Berg opts for the “band of brothers” mode in Lone Survivor. He wants to stay at ground level, in the emotional bond that unites a tough group of Navy SEALs during a mission in Afghanistan.
The film is based on a memoir by Marcus Luttrell, whose 2005 assignment targeting a high-ranking Taliban member went disastrously awry. Luttrell is played by Mark Wahlberg, who brings his usual regular-guy grit to the role — in fact, the movie takes pains to make his character not a superman, just exactly at the level of the other guys in his group.