Berg struggles to turn his admiration for the soldiers' struggle into something more than just a visceral physical experience. Lone Survivor is a solid American combat film outside of the historical context, but it's hard to separate the drum-beating from the quality acting and immersive cinematography.
Lone Survivor is utterly successful at showcasing the horrors of war. Not even in horror movies have I seen characters this relentlessly brutalized; the difference is these characters never stop fighting back. It's expertly made and extremely depressing.
Excise the flag-waving training montage and a few other painfully jingoistic moments, and you've got a crisply-shot, rousing and memorably-acted war film; one (mostly) attuned to the nuances of the conflict and patient with its characters. To the extent the film explores the Afghan villagers who saved and defended Luttrell, and the Pashtun code, it is fascinating.
This was a difficult movie to watch, but then it was a true story and sometimes life is hard to watch. I highly recommend it as a reminder that we all sometimes need reminders of the men and women who fight every day so we can live with our freedoms we often take for granted. The ending, if you have a heart, will leave you with tears. I loved this movie.