Saw the movie “Lone Survivor” the other day. Based on an actual event in 2005 involving a Seal team operation in Afghanistan. The mission was to find and “take out” a so-called high value target, but the mission went terribly wrong. Though the overall mission cost the lives of 18 Seal team members, the film focuses on four of them, of which one became the title’s lone survivor. What the portrayal of the battle on a mountainside in Afghanistan seems to convey is that these soldiers represent the essence of all soldier’s duty: to fight; not to quit; and to watch each other’s back.
The story could have any war as its backdrop. Whether or not a particular war is ultimately judged as justified or necessary or a inherent lost cause matters not when it comes to those who are trained and sent to fight. Thus “Lone Survivor” is neither pro nor anti-war. It’s a tribute to those who fight, regardless of what anyone may think of the meaningfulness of their mission.
All war is should be avoidable, in the abstract, at least. But war is seemingly inevitable, if one cares to take history seriously.
War changes men.
“Sole Survivor” encapsulates that cause and effect. Making a commercial film about the tragic loss of life in the line of duty may seem somewhat cynical. These guys died, fought to the death, except for one had fate, luck or destiny or whatever on his side. Sitting and chomping on a bag of popcorn while watching seems wrong, however.
But this movie does honor those Seals by showing their grit and gutty resolve. What, exactly, they died for will forever be open to question.