Peter Berg is a director who has made films that has huge potential but the end product did not live up to the hype or expectations. His last film Battleship was garbage. No aspect of that film was liked by anyone. So I was a bit circumspect before watching this film. This movie turned out to be way better than his previous efforts.
**Spoilers Ahead (not anything major to deter you from watching the film)**
From the title, it is clear as to what the ending of the movie might be like . And, from the author of the book on which this film is based, you will realize that it is the same person played by Mark Wahlberg. The movie is not perfect but it is good depiction of the ill fated or failed mission called Operation Red Wings which took place in Afghanistan in June of 2005 which took the life of 19 American soldiers. For movies like this, the focal point is the mission, how it was executed and what went wrong which leaves no room for character development. So Peter Berg starts the movie with real-life footage of navy recruits training and being pushed to the limits even close to death at times. It sets the tone for the film and through out the film he keeps going back and forth between film and real footage, so you will get to feel what the soldiers actually felt and had to go through physically and emotionally. It is ironic in the end because no matter what training they had gone through the soldiers were still not prepared for the conditions they had to face.
Seal Team 10 gets briefed on Operation Red Wings led by Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) whose orders were to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. It was supposed to be a straight forward mission with the soliders dropping in, killing the bad guy and getting out alive. But the soliders found themselves fighting for their lives.
The first 40 minutes of the movie is just setting up the story a bit, showing some of the characters involved and then the rest of the film is just what goes wrong and the fire fight between them and the Taliban soldiers. They find themselves trapped on a rocky mountain slope, outnumbered and lack of visual of their attackers who are camouflaged themselves behind rocks and trees. This is where I thought Peter Berg did a good job in showing where the american soldiers were trapped and the view from the Taliban soldiers end which only elevates the suspense and draws the viewers in. He also does not shy away from showing what happens to the soldiers with every bullet shot that passes through their bodies, tearing their skin, going through their bones and showing the pain they are trying to endure.
There is not much character development so the acting overall is good. I guess they could have just got any actor with decent acting skills but they went with good actors in the hope to sell the film. Besides Wahlberg, you also get to meet Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Deitz (Emile Hirch) and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster). Berg hopes that you have seen films featuring these actors before and hope that you can draw some interest and it bodes well with a film like this.
It is a tragic story and it is told in brutal and heart breaking manner. The director wanted to tell a story he knew very well and he did just that. It is not a perfect film but it does not try to be one. It is a good watch for those who like watching war films and can sit through some violent action.