I expected it to be a well-done war movie, and it was. Intense and graphic, it pulls no punches, depicting accurately the physical and emotional horrors of battle.
But what I wasn't expecting was for it to really be a morality tale. It's a war movie that is bookended by people making the right moral decision, and having to deal with the consequences of those decisions.
That's not an angle I've seen in other movies of this genre. As we walked in to the movie theater I wondered, how could this movie possibly need to be made? There are hundreds if not thousands of war movies already in the can. How could there be anything that hasn't yet been explored? But the fact that the action of the movie hinged on a decision to do the right thing made it feel like a new story. One worth telling, and worth seeing -- if you can stomach the gore.
I had to use the same method I employ for watching The Walking Dead, which is, I just look away when things get too bloody. It works for me.
I enjoyed the subtle nod to the main character's Catholic faith. He wears a large St. Michael medal around his neck that is featured prominently in a few scenes.
We didn't remember it until the movie had already started, but the husband and I are friends with the widow of one of the Navy SEALs who lost his life that day. This movie is a fitting tribute to him and his brother SEALs. The violence is realistic, but I don't think it was gratuitous. There was the type of language you'd expect to be used by these guys. But the movie really showed their courage and selflessness and extraordinary toughness.
It's easy to forget that there are still sons and husbands and fathers out there putting themselves in harm's way for us. I'm glad this movie is here to remind us of their sacrifice.