By Joanne Laurier, wsws.org
Former model, rapper and impudent punk Mark Wahlberg is the perfect actor to serve in a jingoist film like Lone Survivor. An early racist, Wahlberg had been in trouble 20–25 times with the Boston Police Department in his youth. By age 13, Wahlberg had developed an addiction to cocaine and other substances. At fifteen, civil action was filed against Wahlberg for his involvement in two separate incidents of harassing African-American children (the first some siblings and the second a group of black school children on a field trip), by throwing rocks and shouting racial epithets. At 16, Wahlberg approached a middle-aged Vietnamese man on the street and, using a large wooden stick, knocked him unconscious while yelling a racial epithet. That same day, he also attacked another Vietnamese man, leaving the victim permanently blind in one eye.
August: Osage County, directed by John Wells; screenplay by Tracy Letts, based on his Broadway play of the same title. Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg; screenplay by Berg, based on the book by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson
Director Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor is based on the account of former US Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. Luttrell, the only survivor of a four-man SEAL unit that undertook a mission in 2005 in Afghanistan, is played by Mark Wahlberg. The team’s goal was to assassinate a Taliban leader, who was a thorn in the side of the US invaders.
The majority of the film is spent paying tribute to the SEALs’ superhuman training, which, during the 40-minute, blood-splattered battle sequence, enables the four SEALs to fight on with bullets in their heads, injuries to all limbs and a war-is-great-hell camaraderie. Meanwhile, the “dark enemy,” that is, opposition to the US invasion and occupation, is mowed down with relative ease. Nonetheless, the team fails in its mission. Besides Luttrell, the other SEALs include Taylor Kitsch as Michael Murphy, Emile Hirsh as Danny Dietz and Ben Foster as Matt Axelson. Eric Bana plays their commanding officer.
In an interview, director Peter Berg boasted: “I spent months with active SEAL teams (but I was not allowed to film). I did go to Iraq. I was given permission by the SEAL community and special operations to go and embed. I am the only civilian to embed with an active SEAL platoon.” Congratulations, Mr. Berg, on your special relations with a death squad! That will be remembered. Continue reading »