I saw this movie the day it came out in theaters; it being a film that my boyfriend really wanted to see since he graduated from the Naval Academy. This isn’t the usual kind of movie that I review, but I felt compelled to share my experience. Never have I been more moved by the experience of a film. And even more, I have never seen a collective group so heavily hit. When everyone was walking out of the theater as the credits rolled, the whole audience was stunned and silent. We were all mourning the loss of these brave Navy SEALs, giving a sign of respect with a moment of silence. Ever so slowly, everyone filed out of the theater, heads hanging down, shuffling feet, and holding hands with loved ones. But no one spoke. As we entered the bright lights of the hallway, there were fifty or more people waiting for the next screening of the film. They were lined up against the walls as we walked shoulder to shoulder down the middle of the hall, still in silence. Our successors could tell that we were all truly affected by what we had just seen. Some even said, “Wow, it must be really good or something.” But none of my “battle-hardened” peers confirmed or denied this. There is no way to describe what we had just seen.
Mark Wahlberg plays Marcus Luttrell, a veteran who wrote the book of his mission to kill an al Queda leader that tragically goes horribly wrong. Of the four Navy SEALs, Marcus was the only survivor, hence the title of the book and the movie. I had heard from my father and numerous other people how wonderful and devastating the book was and I was worried the movie would not live up to the expectations of the book. I ultimately was not disappointed. I actually haven’t read the book yet (which is surprising since I am such an avid reader), but I intend to immediately after seeing this beautiful film.
The supporting cast is beyond superb- played by Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Killer Joe), Ben Foster (30 Days of Night, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) and Taylor Kitsch (who I am not entirely familiar with but will keep a close eye on for now). Their comedic relief coupled with their emotionally and physically demanding roles were performed flawlessly. Real veterans were used as extras in this film, including the real Marcus Luttrell, who played a small uncredited role, but is still recognizable.
At the end of the film, photos were shown of these heroes and their loved ones. It was hard not to feel the tears well up in my eyes seeing these brave men. I only wish that the movie mentioned the awards that these people received posthumously. Once outside the theater, one of my friends broke the silence, “That is the most intense thing I have ever seen.” We all mumbled our agreements, talked about the book briefly, separated ways, and walked to our cars. As we were driving out of the parking lot, I saw two women in a close embrace, not near letting go of one another, burying their faces and grief within each other’s shoulders. I then noticed a Semper Fi sticker on their car. I could only imagine what they and their families have gone through, the stories of their own. This is a moment I will never forget.
Over an hour after the film has ended, I sit at home writing this, not able to break myself out of this shocked state. This film sticks with you long after the credits have stopped rolling. But then I think about how thankful I am to be an integral part of this country, to see that human kind can still have basic fundamental respect, and to witness the actions on screen of these true-life individuals. This isn’t just a movie, it is a solemn experience; a powerful piece of history that everyone should experience.
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