Tina Brown of the Daily Beast: ‘Lone Survivor’ best war film since ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (AUDIO)

NPR Morning Edition – November 19, 2013

Daily Beast editor Tina Brown joins NPR’s Steve Inskeep from time to time as part of an ongoing conversation Morning Edition calls Word of Mouth. This month she’s talking about stories of survival — from a dangerous Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan to a terrorist attack in Mumbai. And then there’s survival of a different sort: sticking out a very long career in Hollywood.

Making It Through A War Zone

Her first pick is Lone Survivor, an upcoming movie from director Peter Berg —”a fantastic new war film,” Brown says, “probably the best war film, I think, since Saving Private Ryan.”

It’s based on the memoir by former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who was the only survivor among a group of four dropped deep into Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush region in 2005. They were on a reconnaissance mission, called Operation Red Wing, that went horribly wrong.

“The heart of the film is when the SEALs on the mountainside run into a small group of Afghan goatherds,” Brown says. “And they realize suddenly that these goatherds are going to go back and alert the Taliban.”

In the movie, and in Luttrell’s memoir, the SEALs argue about whether or not to let the goatherds go.

“Because of course killing civilians goes right against every kind of code of the SEALs,” Brown says. “I actually talked to [Luttrell] after a screener in an interview, and I asked him, you know, how does he feel today about that decision to let the goat herds go, which I said at the time, was probably the right moral decision to do. And he exploded. He said he really resented that it was ‘the right thing to do.’ He said, ‘How do you know what was the right thing to do? Nobody but us who was on that mountainside, in that conflict, in that war zone, knows what was the right thing to do.’ “

“Which I totally understand — because of course, you know, he’s haunted by it to this very day. Absolutely haunted. The decision to let the goat herds go, of course, meant that all his beloved buddies, that he was so close to, you know, were murdered.”

by NPR Staff