Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 44
  2. Negative: 4 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 9, 2014
    80
    Berg immerses us so completely into the horror of these men’s situation that we are gripped throughout. The fighting is incredibly intense.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 28, 2013
    80
    All four performances are first-rate, and the action is staged with shattering intensity.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 24, 2013
    80
    Berg, who wrote and directed, is more interested in how men deal with battle than the ideals or the politics that put them there. What the movie achieves, with a gruesome energy and a remarkable reality, is a firefight.
  4. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 13, 2014
    75
    Most war films try to be epic in scope and intent. Lone Survivor opts for a smaller focus and succeeds on its own terms.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 10, 2014
    75
    The middle 40 minutes of Lone Survivor have to be some of the toughest battle scenes in Hollywood history - an epic, close-range firefight that finds the SEALs throwing themselves down rock faces like superheroes. Only they aren't superheroes - they bleed, they break.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    Lone Survivor is primarily about the unflinching bravery of SEALs executing their mission and looking out for one another, even as they’re coming to grips with the reality of how this thing is going to end.
  7. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    The surprisingly thoughtful third act both introduces complexity to its portrayal of the Afghan people, and subtly reminds us that, despite Luttrell's astonishing constitution and self-surgery skills, as well as the ultimate sacrifices made by his comrades in arms, it was all for naught.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    Like the best war movies, Lone Survivor laces action with moral questions that haunt and provoke.
  9. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    Wahlberg remains one of our most reliable and least actorly of movie stars, innately macho but vulnerable enough to seem like a human being caught in an inhuman situation.
  10. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    Conveying a visceral sense of warfare's terror is what Berg chiefly seeks, and on that level Lone Survivor handily succeeds.
  11. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Dec 28, 2013
    75
    Berg is relentlessly unsparing.
  12. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Dec 28, 2013
    75
    Survivor is a pummeling, frenzied ride, one of fall's most charged action films. The gunfights and rocket-propelled grenades are palpable, and Berg manages to make the chaos followable.
  13. Reviewed by: Charlie Schmidlin
    Nov 14, 2013
    75
    Together, all four cast members help draw a line across the narrative—separating when we were watching a mildly engaging depiction of names, dates, and locations, and a hellish, immersive situation with no easy outcome in sight.
  14. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 16, 2014
    70
    Lone Survivor has no politics in the sense that it presents a more or less factual story about Luttrell and his comrades trying to fight their way out against overwhelming odds, and tells the truth that most of them didn’t make it. But the visual symbolism and the iconography of this movie are not apolitical or ideologically neutral at all.
  15. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 16, 2014
    70
    That people want to see a competent action picture in the depths of winter isn’t all that depressing, but the fact that they’re swallowing the disgusting symbolism of this one definitely is.
  16. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jan 6, 2014
    70
    Lone Survivor will not please people exasperated by an endless war, but it's an achievement nonetheless. [6 Jan. 2014, p. 73]
  17. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 4, 2014
    70
    Lone Survivor’s lack of suspense never works against it. If anything, the fact that the outcome is, at least roughly, known in advance only adds to the film’s sickening tension, the atmosphere of preordained doom through which its characters seem to move.
  18. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 24, 2013
    70
    It is a modest, competent, effective movie, concerned above all with doing the job of explaining how the job was done.
  19. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 10, 2013
    70
    The film is rugged, skilled, relentless, determined, narrow-minded and focused, everything that a soldier must be when his life is on the line.
  20. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Nov 14, 2013
    70
    Berg’s blunt, pummeling style offers few nuances and makes no apologies, but his broad brushstrokes have clearly found an ideal canvas in this grimly heroic rendering of hell on earth.
  21. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Jan 14, 2014
    68
    Ultimately seems at war with itself, torn between its duties as an entertaining, engaging movie and a somber, sincere memorial, and in splitting the difference, the film effectively assaults its audience almost as aggressively as its subjects.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 10, 2014
    67
    Not much depth or political examination here. The film works best as a survivalist’s manual.
  23. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jan 8, 2014
    67
    Lone Survivor is a somber celebration of courage and endurance that manages to steer clear of jingoism and moral judgments.
  24. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jan 8, 2014
    67
    Berg has made a powerful film and an important reminder of what really happens when we send men and women off to war. It's just too bad that subtlety isn't a stronger weapon in his arsenal.
  25. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Dec 24, 2013
    67
    For all his directorial shortcomings, Berg has a knack for capturing men at work; his depiction of special-ops maneuvering—of silently casing the enemy base, of planning the attack—is as compelling as the chaotic violence he orchestrates later.
  26. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jan 9, 2014
    63
    This is a contemporary war-is-hell account in which hell burns so intensely that it scorches the firewalls of the mundane world around it. But it doesn’t burn them down.
  27. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jan 9, 2014
    63
    The actors are excellent, as are the bruising re-creations of the firefight and the uncountable injuries sustained.
  28. 63
    The characters are only superficially sketched in, but we still fear for them, understand their code and above all else, appreciate the dirty, bloody, high-risk work these professionals do. That they go through all this and risk everything, by choice, is something Berg, to his credit, never lets us forget.
  29. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Jan 29, 2014
    60
    The direction pummels and the cast impress, yet Berg’s war movie promises more than it delivers. Memories of Battleship are sunk, but that Oscar buzz may be a bit premature.
  30. Reviewed by: Ashley Clark
    Jan 28, 2014
    60
    Neither an anti-war tract nor a jingoistic rallying cry, the brutal but humane Lone Survivor instead registers as a howl of despair for so many young men and women lost in war.
  31. Reviewed by: James Dyer
    Jan 27, 2014
    60
    A severe portrait of fortitude under extreme pressure, somewhat marred by blinkered politics.
  32. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 10, 2014
    60
    While Lone Survivor is presented as a piece of hero-focused entertainment, it is a suitably sobering one in the end, and a film that is bound to stick to the ribs of audiences longer than, say, your average Superman movie.
  33. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 25, 2013
    60
    You may salute Lone Survivor for its desperate intensity; but the film remains pinned down by its military and political dilemma: between gung-ho and F—, no.
  34. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jan 9, 2014
    50
    Lone Survivor, from start to finish, is a tale of disaster, of bad luck and bad communication, perhaps even faulty planning, though that's hard to say. So the movie loses the common touch of average folk trying to get by, while also losing some of the pleasure of watching a crack unit at work.
  35. Reviewed by: Steven Boone
    Dec 25, 2013
    50
    Lone Survivor burns with the fever of a passion project. Writer-director Peter Berg's gratitude to United States servicemen for all their sacrifice comes through viscerally, from first frame to last.
  36. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 23, 2013
    50
    Lone Survivor is a grotesque action movie at times impressively directed by Peter Berg that combines the brute masculinity with the ugliness of the battlefield and viscerally unsettling shock value. But it's less a depiction of courage than a brutish magnification of anger and pain, both of which it conveys a lot better than the high ground that it reaches for.
  37. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Dec 23, 2013
    50
    The simplicity of Lone Survivor eventually becomes a handicap, because after a certain point, the film becomes just one long battle sequence, lacking narrative ebb and flow.
  38. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 19, 2013
    50
    There hasn’t been this bizarre mixture of hooah and death since John Wayne hung up his combat boots.
  39. 40
    Crudely written, rife with clichés, and leaves out anything that would transform a piece of propaganda into a work of art akin to Samuel Fuller’s "The Steel Helmet," Brian DePalma’s "Casualties of War," or Steven Spielberg’s "Saving Private Ryan."
  40. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 28, 2013
    40
    Peter Berg’s ultra-bloody battle film “Lone Survivor” is ultimately more grueling than satisfying. It’s more carnage than cinema.
  41. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Dec 10, 2013
    38
    Like his prior "The Kingdom," Peter Berg's film pretends to dabble in a frothy moral ambiguity, swiftly betraying its true aims with trigger-happy jingoism.
  42. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jan 9, 2014
    37
    What’s missing here is something, or rather, someone, to care about.
  43. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Dec 24, 2013
    30
    Lone Survivor just reads like a quasi-political exaggeration of a slasher film: the cellphones that don't work, the rescuers just out of reach, the killers chasing our victims through the woods.
  44. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 18, 2013
    20
    Berg may be adhering to the basic facts, but his movie’s childish machismo is a disgrace to all involved.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 293 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 76
  2. Negative: 4 out of 76
  1. Jan 6, 2014
    10
    This movie was a brutally beautiful tribute to the men killed during Operation Red Wing. Having read the book multiple times I knew I wasn't going to be surprised by anything in the movie but I was still moved by actually seeing what these men endured. Peter Berg did a great job telling this story. Marcus Luttrell did an awesome job keeping it honest. Thank God for our military and their willingness to serve selflessly. Full Review »
  2. Jan 9, 2014
    8
    A film that truly surprised me, in regards to how the cast was going to hold up. I have no doubt with Peter Berg has ability to create a sense of true American realism, as seen in Friday Night Lights and his respective series. The cast was great, however, I felt that we could of saw a little more of them because I didn't feel the emotional connection I thought I should as they fell one by one. But, as I say this, the ending of the movie was the most emotional part of the movie. That, along with the rendition of We Can Be Heroes, was, I can't express how I felt. Full Review »
  3. Dec 31, 2013
    10
    i felt compelled to write a review after seeing some of the absurd reviews written by the professional critics. This is a painful & beautiful & honorable film filled with spirit. From Mr. Berg, to the cast, all the way through even the effects of Greg Nicotero, the passion is clear and palpable. This film conveys core elements of the human experience in so many complex, unlikely, and ultimately honest ways. And that's what we want from a great movie isn't it? Full Review »