'Lone Survivor' depicts U.S. Navy SEALs comradery in Afghan tragedy

Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:32pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - From shooting down a helicopter to firefights, film director Peter Berg spared no details to recreate a tragic United States Navy SEALs mission in Afghanistan in "Lone Survivor," an unflinching account of one of the worst losses of life in the history of the special operations force.

The film, which opens in limited theaters in the United States on Christmas Day and wider release on January 10, 2014, is based on the best-selling book by Marcus Luttrell, the only man who lived to recount what happened during the covert June 2005 Operation Red Wings in which 11 SEALs and eight soldiers died.

Two-time Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg plays Luttrell, a medic and a sharpshooter who was one of a four-man team dropped by helicopter in the rugged mountains near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan on a mission to find a Taliban leader.

The operation was compromised when three Afghan goat herders stumbled upon them, leaving the men with a moral dilemma that would lead to the deaths of their unarmed captives or their own.

"The dominant experience for me was the brotherhood that existed between these four men - the tragedy of their loss," said Berg, the director of 2012's action-adventure film "Battleship."

Not long after releasing their Afghan captives and scampering further up the mountain hoping to be rescued, the SEALs are outnumbered by Taliban on three sides. They are forced into a firefight and to hurl themselves off steep cliffs, tumbling like rag dolls, slamming against boulders and trees, shattering limbs as bullets and rocket-propelled grenades whizzed by.

"We fought them for hours and hours until we ran out of bullets and we ran out of blood," said Luttrell, who despite wounds and a broken back, crawled for miles and was saved by the kindness of an Afghan villager.

BATTLE SCENES   Continued...

Actor Mark Wahlberg poses for a portrait while promoting the film "Lone Survivor" in New York, in this December 5, 2013, file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson