Culture > Movies
Relativity Media

Act of Valor

Movies | First of several upcoming films that will focus on honoring the troops

Issue: "2012 Cities Issue," March 10, 2012

With a number of recent war films (Green Zone and Tom Cruise's Lions for Lambs) disappointing at the box office, some movie moguls have gotten the message: Americans are tired of seeing our military put on trial.

Act of Valor is the first of several upcoming films to focus instead on honoring the troops. Yet it's no fairy tale: Rated R for language and strong violence including torture, it's gritty to say the least. When a CIA agent is brutally captured, a Navy SEAL team must parachute into enemy territory to rescue her. The intel they gain starts a man-hunt for Islamic radicals and a new generation of smart explosives aimed at American cities.

Admittedly, the plot and acting are at times strained. But producers Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy took a risk, casting active-duty Navy SEALs to play heroes of the film. And it paid off big in one respect-perhaps the most authentic combat scenes ever captured on the big screen. The Navy provided unparalleled access to technology and equipment, including a nuclear sub as well as real bullets instead of blanks. Even if you aren't a Call of Duty devotee, chances are you'll still get a rush hearing SEALs take cover under live machine-gun fire.

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

The film's authenticity is just as much about the men themselves. Instead of another Jack Bauer, the movie shows us a brotherhood of men, bound by a code of honor-courage, loyalty, freedom, and self-sacrifice, which gives the violence an unusual moral depth. As Chief says goodbye to his pregnant wife and joins his crew for a mission, we're told, "If you're not willing to give up everything, you've already lost."

And in that aspect, it's a valiant portrayal of manhood. But it's also insufficient on its own. The SEAL warrior's code has no power to redeem ultimately the suffering and loss so common in real soldiers' lives-what the narrator calls the box he keeps locked inside.

Emily Whitten
Emily Whitten

Emily reviews books and movies for WORLD and is a contributor at RedeemedReader.com. She homeschools her two children and sees books through the eyes of a mother.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    House divided

    An American couple faces Qatari imprisonment over a tragedy…

    Advertisement