First Hit: Knowing the end (title gives it away) before the film starts makes it difficult to watch.
When you know the end of the film before it starts, it can hurt the experience.
Here the audience has to sit through a small group (4) Navy Seals being slowly slaughtered because they consciously let 3 Afghan goat herders go. The decision allowed the Taliban to know the soldiers whereabouts and how to systematically kill the soldiers.
The film is supposed to show the fraternal and brotherly closeness of these Seals. To make this point the beginning of the film shows some of the training exercises the commandos go through to become a Seal.
As most of the candidates quit, by ringing a bell three times and leave their helmet on the ground, the ones who make it through to the end are very close. As the Seals are picked off one by one in horrible/bloody fashion I just sat waiting for the end to come. This film tries to bring the feeling of honor, bravery, and the rightness of the US being at war in Afghanistan – but to me these things do not justify the actions of war although I appreciate the closeness of their brotherhood.
From a story perspective this film might have been better served by not telegraphing the end. However, some of the dialogue was pointed and truly Seal like.
Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell was focused and fully engaged in this role. This was a typical “full on” performance by him. Taylor Kitsch as Michael Murphy was good as the leader of this group. Emile Hirsch was very good as Danny Dietz communications guy. Ben Foster was the best of the bunch in his part as Matt “Axe” Axelson. Peter Berg wrote and directed this based on Luttrell’s book. The dialogue was strong and cinematography was good but the focus on their struggle to survive the onslaught wasn’t my cup of tea.
Overall: Not an easy film to watch, especially if killing is not your bag.