There aren’t any surprises about how this movie ends considering the big, fat clue in the title, but if you are looking for all-out battle scenes and the dust, blood, and guts of war, there are some truly terrific and terrifying sequences here.
Based on a true story, the film follows the extreme misfortunes of a band of US Navy Seals sent into Afghanistan to take out members of the Taliban only to have all their well-laid plans scuppered by the arrival of a bunch of goat herds.
With their position exposed, radio contact restricted due to the mountains, and back-up many hours away, they have no choice but to fight it out against an enemy armed with rocket launchers and who have intimate knowledge of the landscape.
What follows is an extremely graphic and gasp-out-loud depiction of the sheer and utter confusion, terror and mess of a dog fight. The Seals can’t see the enemy for the trees and the smoke; bullets are zinging past their ears and to add to the mayhem, they get backed against a sheer drop down the mountain and have nowhere to go, except over the edge with all the bone crunching, muscle bruising, skin shredding damage that entails.
That the four main characters – Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Mark Wahlberg – manage to come over as distinctly different personalities in the midst of all the blood, destruction and feature-obscuring gear is testament to their acting abilities and also to the tight direction of Peter Berg who just about manages to keep a cohesive storyline going throughout.
It’s not perfect – it is, of course, incredibly one-sided with the Taliban for the most part remaining a faceless foe – but it also doesn’t glorify war or its very real human cost, and as you hear and almost feel the thud of bodies bouncing off bare rock, you may join the audience in a collective groan of sympathy.