User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 288 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 26 out of 288

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  1. Aug 26, 2014
    5
    Lone Survivor is another war porn film of brotherhood and the sacrifices our soldiers make during war. Entertaining, but no man could have survived how many times they jumped off cliffs and lived.
  2. Aug 17, 2014
    10
    Miraculous, intense, and patriotic. This movie was outstanding and beyond. Full of compassion and showed the true face of what our soldiers can go through and what they have. It is a celebration of sacrifice and triumph. Excellent film making made sure that it was as accurate as possible. I highly recommend this movie to those who have a true interest in war movies. Defiantly the best since Saving Private Ryan and the TV series Band of Brothers. Expand
  3. Aug 1, 2014
    8
    This one surprised me. I thought it was going to be another gung-ho jar head movie. It feels like it at the beginning with the harsh troop training scenes. However, it makes sense and has meaning this time. Whalberg does a good job.
  4. chw
    Jul 19, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Lone Survivor was a very good film, the best war film since Saving Private Ryan, like people are saying. But it's almost like the second This is the End because the amount of deaths... Expand
  5. Jul 8, 2014
    10
    bravo! to all involved! i had to see this movie today! it is true to life. a masterpiece! the afghan war, the iraq war, the vietnam war, are all fought without public understanding, approval, and, most terrible of all for soldiers, backing! they gave their all! i feel good to be an american again! i am grateful to these men for being able to sleep in my own bed tonight. i went to the zoo today. when did the iraqis, saudis, vietnamese, afghans, go to the zoo? you use the word "zoo" around them, and, you will get a blank! this is oscar material, gentlemen!! this movie, "lone survivor", was written with blood still on this soldier's hands! this is war! this is the way it is! this is why we need to see these movies every time they come out. Expand
  6. Jul 7, 2014
    10
    Definitely my favourite 2014 movie so far.This is a good emotional movie about four soldiers in big trouble.The action scenes are realistic and the characters(based on real soldiers)are really credible.
  7. LTR
    Jul 4, 2014
    9
    This movie is a great tribute to the men who passed away during Operation Red Wing. It's emotional, the action is good and shows the true terror of war.
  8. Jun 30, 2014
    6
    I was very surprised that I liked this movie as much as I did. For what it is, it is very enjoyable. There is not much of a story, but they did try. I do not think they had all that much to work with.
  9. Jun 28, 2014
    8
    Brutal, immersive and compeling, the Lone Survior delivered in almost every way you want a war film to, with great onscreen chemistry between the characters and with Taylor Kitsch's most profound performance to date.
  10. Jun 21, 2014
    8
    I'm surprised with the metascore. This movie is pretty awesome, very entertaining and well acted. It kept my attention from the beginning to the end. I really recommend to see it!
  11. Jun 15, 2014
    9
    Lone Survivor is exhilarating, intense, gritty, and heartbreaking. It's an incredible war film. There's really no other way I can put it. Knowing that the story is true adds an extra layer of authenticity to an already hyper immersive experience. Those criticizing it for honoring the fallen heroes of war have some serious issues. A nearly flawlessly directed, elegantly simple, shockingly engaging movie. Expand
  12. Jun 14, 2014
    9
    A brutal and emotional movie that is only amplified by the fact that it is serving as a tribute to real people and events. The cast is fantastic. Every single one of the actors here bring their best and really sell the horror and pain of the events. It's one of the best war movies I've ever seen, not because it glorifies the violence, but rather shows the horror of it. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and I recommend you put it at the top of your must-watch list. I give it a 9.8/10=Amazing. Expand
  13. Jun 8, 2014
    8
    This movie effectively conveys the horrific events that led to the deaths of three Navy Seals on an Afghani mountain and shows the complexity of a pivotal decision that precipitated the firefight. However, it takes perplexing liberties in the final minutes while conveying the events that led to the survival of Marcus Luttrell, whose story is dramatic enough without the need for a fictionalized Taliban attack on his protectors. That's the only disappointing aspect of a film that should be seen to understand the harsh reality of war in the 21st Century. Expand
  14. Jun 5, 2014
    10
    This movie is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. The movie is very intense and has a great sense of patriotism. It is a very graphic movie so it might not be the best for kids and there is a lot of harsh language.
  15. May 26, 2014
    9
    A true heroic brutally war masterpiece based on a true story .. This movie is very emotionally gripping to watch and that's makes it intense... might be one of the best war movies in recent memory for me
  16. May 25, 2014
    7
    Lone Survivor is a war movie about the true story of four Navy Seals team members set out to kill a taliban war leader Ahmad Shahd. While the movie lacks solid character biulding it surpasses in its action and realism. Some of the fire fights they get into are brutally intense thats were the realism takes it to another level. The cast was great for the film Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch all did amazing jobs for thier portrayal as the soldiers. Its a very emotional movie seeing the team try and try again to get saved but only to fail again and again also i think will shock some people when they watch it because of the realism style. Peter Berg really surprised me with this one his past couple movies i didnt really care for and seeing that the last movie i liked of his was The Kingdom another war based film it seems he can do this genre pretty well.

    Overall i give it a 7.5
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  17. May 24, 2014
    5
    I was mildly entertained by this movie. Another movie called Murph came out prior to this being movie being released to rent which showed who Murph was...and I have to say, that one was far better. Look, I'm not going play down a movie showing heroic men acting heroic in a situation I couldn't even fathom being in and I do like Mark Walhberg's movies but this one left me glancing at my watch. To the brave men and women who put their lives on the line, I will always give kudos but I felt this rendition of the story was disjointed and lukewarm. Expand
  18. Apr 2, 2014
    5
    This movie is average at best. The title and the way it started let me know how this is gonna play out thus making me not care for characters outside of Marky Mark. The way the characters act are typical for a modern war movie. You have your everyman, leader, tech-guy, trigger happy guy and it's the trigger happy guy I found myself agreeing with the most. He wants to kill 3 people cause he knows they'll tell the Taliban in the area their whereabouts. If they had done that they would have avoided their real fate. If this movie taught me anything it's that the Geneva Convention is out dated and doesn't apply to war in the 21st century. The action is good, realistic and will make you cringe at some points, but the story is cliche' and honestly a little dull. It's okay at best but it won't make much of an impression on you. Expand
  19. Apr 1, 2014
    8
    'Lone Survivor' tells the true story of a US navy SEAL team and their failed mission called Operation Red Wings during the Afghanistan war. As the title says there's nothing to hide or secrets behind characters, only one survive from a team of four soldiers. How it all going to happen unfolded in an unbelievable manner.

    It was Mark Wahlberg's show, though Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana and
    others appearance gave strong grip to the story. This movie takes place mainly in three locations, one from US navy base, two from mountain range and the third one from a small village. The US navy base was okay, but the mountain range and Afghan village were looked clearly fake. Failed to recreate those middle-east atmospheres where the movie was shot (in Mexico), but the movie was breathtaking by the story and performances make you forget the technical side flaws.

    In a few areas, it makes you to feel it was overdone. Especially after soldiers were wounded by multiple bullet shots. But then it was clearly explained in the opening scene itself like the soldiers were trained to stand tall in any given harsh situations. The director of 'The Kingdom' crafted this movie awesomely in a similar fashion to that. One of the Oscars talked movie, but did not do well, though got good responds from the movie goers around the world. It is like this year's 'Zero Dark Thrity' based on US war against Talibans. Knowing truth is always good for knowledge and if it comes through a movie, then it will be a thrilling entertainment.
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  20. Mar 28, 2014
    0
    While the action scenes are ok, mind you those don't start until you are an hour into the two hour film, there is no emotion what so ever. It's hard to care about the characters, based on real soldiers in a real situation, when the plot and dialogue is so incredibly shallow and generic. Needless subplots and no character development killed this movie in my opinion. It's not worth watching.
  21. Mar 6, 2014
    3
    this is something that is not that cool Mark Whalberg was better in ted . i there is not enough gore and i do not like this it stunk major . this sucks and it is not good enough to be one of my favorite film
  22. Mar 3, 2014
    10
    this movie is a retelling of the events of operation red wing in the afgan mauntains and tells a deep and emotional story as the charrecters die 1 by 1 mark walberge and the rest of the other actors did an excellent job at potraying there charecters the visuals and camara angles are amazing this movie does the book and real life event justice i hear that there were a lot of inacuracys with this movie but all around is an amazing film a must watch Expand
  23. Feb 24, 2014
    5
    Although the battle scenes are incredibly intense, there are some serious flaws in this movie that ultimately disappoint. Firstly, if you read the book, you will be disappointed that the protagonists experience is seriously abridged, with a considerable amount of incredible hardship and storyline omitted. Secondly, the film begins in a cliched almost fawning way, with the (what seems now standard) portrayal of Seals as warm hearted,, cuddly, lovely guys who are just doing a job. Whether it's true or not, this seems to be the standard way such movies start these days, with a kind of implication that special forces soldiers are societies moral exemplars, and it's getting really boring. Thirdly, the ending is the standard "cavalry arrives in a nick of time" conclusion that is very disappointing and cliched, and had nothing to do with the book. I don't believe the protagonist died and was revived in real life either. And it's a shame that the movie excluded Lutrell's glowing account and recommendation of the use of raw opium as an analgesic. Expand
  24. Feb 21, 2014
    9
    Lone Survivor is my favourite film by Peter Berg, the film just felt so realistic to me, the sound department did their part to perfection, i really enjoyed this film, and it doesn't just show you the typical one sided view of Afghans, it shows more than that, it shows you people who are against the Taliban and i loved that aspect about the film, the little details like that make Lone Survivor great and different. If you haven't seen this film yet please for the love of god see this film. Expand
  25. Feb 21, 2014
    9
    After leaving the movie I was overcome with emotion and respect for our soldiers. This movie ranks up with other favorites like 'We Were Soldiers', and 'Saving Private Ryan' for me.
  26. Feb 18, 2014
    8
    There is a little bit of testosterone overload in Lone Survivor, but that's true of most Hollywood war films. The gun battle is brutally graphic and the men can't seem to speak without saying the "F" word, so don't go to this movie if you're squeamish or prudish. I thought it was a well made film, but it wasn't anything new that I haven't seen in other war films, especially war films set in Vietnam such as Platoon. It certainly isn't a film I would want to see again as I don't find all the graphic violence entertaining, but the film is certainly a reminder of what our military personnel are going through to keep this country safe. Expand
  27. Feb 13, 2014
    9
    This was my favorite war movie since "Saving Private Ryan." I saw it with my wife and sister in law. The movie does an excellent job of portraying the training that these men had to go through in order to be in the Seals. It also does a great job of portraying how they talk to each other and the common banter among them. The movie was great, stayed very true to the history, and tugged on the heartstrings as well. It is very gruesome but that is to be expected. I'd recommend this movie to anyone. Expand
  28. Feb 13, 2014
    6
    The war film genre is one where the sensationalisation of the gains and losses on the battlefield and highly fictionalized moments drenched with brotherhood, duty, and honour, are what differentiate it from other film genres. Sadly, Lone Survivor is no different from the many other war films that have come before it. Despite its lack of originality in a genre that has, for the most part, run out of ammo in the originality department, one of the advantages that the film has compared to more recognizable battles of the past, is the obscurity of Operation Red Wings (the mission the film is based on) and the lack of mystery as to who lives and who dies.

    Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Red Wings, an American search-and-destroy mission in Afghanistan, and focuses on the four men sent in to do the job. Giving a little insight into the lives of Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster), Lieutenant Micahel Murphy (Kitsch), and Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell (Wahlberg), the film is a comical and brutal account of the ethical decision-making on the battlefield and the impact of certain ‘rules of engagement’. Within the war film genre, death is inevitable and thanks to its spoiler-laden title, audiences already know that only one of the four main protagonists actually comes away with his life. However, by taking the focus away from the mystery of who lives and who dies, the film is able to quickly establish heartfelt connections and deliver a deeply emotional response, even if the roles are played by not so emotionally impacting actors like Taylor Kitsch and Mark Wahlberg.

    As the opening monologue of the film echoes in its first few minutes, “There’s a storm inside all of us; a burden, a river, a drive, an unrelentless desire to push yourself harder and further than anyone can think possible”. This storm, this drive, is one that can be appreciated through the growing body of work of writer/director Pete Berg. Berg has made a career as Hollywood’s go-to director for entrusting soaring production budgets and seasoned action stars, while confidently obtaining a great box-office return, despite dismal or mixed reviews. From Friday Night Lights and Battleship, to the out of nowhere mega-blockbuster Hancock, Berg has been fortunate with large scale budgets and generous star power behind his films. Spanning the course of five years, Lone Survivor is Berg’s passion project. Working for the Director Guild of America with minimum salary, Berg was instantly drawn to the memoir of Marcus Luttrell during the production on Hancock. After proposing the film to Universal studios, and getting stars Wahlberg and Kitsch at a discounted rate, the funding for his film was the only reason Berg actually agreed to make Battleship.

    The film is being hailed as an authentic representation of the encounters many US Armed Force Officers are faced with. Although at times repetitive, the film is a bustling, hard-boiled piece of the American military life and a look into the lives of these triumphant men and women. Filled with moments that will have you clenching your fists and lifting yourself off the seat, Lone Survivor is a true testament of the artful representation of violence–proving that in Berg’s book, moderation is definitely for cowards.

    Much like the highly overrated Captain Phillips released earlier in the awards season, the film really does not shed much light or give any insight to the antagonists of the film–the Taliban. Pursing Operation Red Wings for the sheer fact that their target is notorious for killing off Navy SEAL’s, the four men are tested; mind, body, and soul through a perilous journey where their actions dictate the consequences of their future. Other than a scene involving a decapitation of one member of the Taliban as a supposed traitor, the film’s first half shows the target Shah (Yousuf Azami) and his heartless second-in-command Taraq (Sammy Sheik) as diabolical animals. It isn’t until we reach the last part of the film where the true nature and over-embellished actions of the Afghani people are accurately depicted.

    Despite the celebrity status of the four leading men, the real stand out is the always camouflaged Ben Foster. Taking queues from his career best The Messenger back in 2009, Foster brings a vulnerability to his role as Petty Officer Axel, one that quickly outshines his male cohorts. Foster’s interpretation of inevitable death and the persistence to keep fighting for his country, is one that out-guns anyone else in Lone Survivor.
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  29. Feb 11, 2014
    8
    There is not much of a storyline to Lone Survivor directed by Peter Berg. Just based on the title alone, we are already fully aware of the film’s ending. A Four man team goes into battle. Three of them die. Only One survives.

    The pre-action first act is pretty weak. It’s the same old ultra-patriotic, Navy Seal prestige banter complete with a rookie giving a front-of-the-class speech
    defining his role as a Seal Diver. In the mission briefing the target Afghans are portrayed as cliché plot devices. Never is there a mention that these Afghan’s are actual humans whose country the Seals are currently occupying, and are currently planning to kill. Scenes like these are not usually later redeemed, but as soon as the four Seals drop into the field, the tone of the film changes.

    What makes the film Lone Survivor a good film is 100% in its execution. The performances of all the actors, the special effects and stunts, the lighting and the sound, the fancy camera work and exotic scenery, the violence, equal the actual enactment: a very powerful, non-partisan, grim portrayal of modern ground combat.

    Once dropped in the field, the Seals encounter innocent civilians. Faced with the ethical decision of whether to execute them or free them, the Seals let them go. This is truly a controversial choice. Acting differently surely would have produced a different, less deadly outcome (for the Seals at least). Any logical viewer will afterwards struggle to justify why the Seals made the choice they did. Why would they sacrifice themselves for the innocents? It is almost nonsense, but in war decisions are made on the fly, and this is what happened.

    Within minutes the freed civilians alert the troops, and an army of hundreds of heavily armed men surround the group of 4. This when the action starts.

    It begins with the exchange of long-range rifle fire but soon the Seals are surrounded and flanked fiercely. As the battle shifts positions we encounter scenes where Seals must make split second decisions between particularly gruesome tasks. Which is less likely to kill me? Pushing forward and engaging in fire where I am extremely outnumbered, or throwing myself down this 50 foot rock face?

    The unfolding of this battle, and that is to say two-thirds of the film, really cannot be described in words. The battle truly is the film. It is an attempt at the depicting the intensity of real combat, and myself having zero experience in real combat, I think Peter Berg is very successful in portraying it.

    Their radio signals having been lost, their back-up firepower having failed them, and every other piece of bad luck imaginable having occurred, the battle ends. The Seals literally having fought to their deaths.
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  30. Feb 5, 2014
    7
    Berg did for war films what Peckinpah did for westerns with Wild Bunch. You can't leave the theater without remembering the violence of war --- no bloody lipstick for bullet wounds here. The entire film was tension filled even with a too predictable conclusion. What would have been better than knowing only one survived as indicated by the title would have been if it were someone other than Mark Wahlberg. I really like him, have seen most all of his films, he played the part well, but it made the ending as to which one was to survive even more predictable. What could have been a great movie, therefore, wasn't. Expand
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: James Dyer
    Jan 27, 2014
    60
    A severe portrait of fortitude under extreme pressure, somewhat marred by blinkered politics.