Starring: Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez
Valor is defined as great courage in the face of danger. However, “great” is an understatement when it comes to the heroism of the soldiers in “Act of Valor.” The film is the first to depict real active-duty Navy Seals on their most covert missions all over the world.
In the film, the squad’s operation is to rescue a CIA officer. The mission is just barely completed and the recovery leads the team to uncover a massively deadly plot of terrorism against the U.S. Through the Navy Seals’ selflessness, camaraderie and indisputable courage, they’re able to face the most dangerous of enemies to defend our nation.
Directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, “Act of Valor” begins with a jaw-dropping explosion organized by terrorists that foreshadows who and what the Navy Seals will fight in combat. The following scene offers an intimate look at the squad’s personal lives. Their initial deployment captures the bravery and concealed heartbreak, as each soldier parts from his or her loved ones and boards the aircraft.
In addition to the movie’s authenticity, the equipment and locations reflect the reality of military life with high-tech equipment such as M4A1 Carbines, the enormous underwater carrier and the enemy’s expenditure of submachine guns.
Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut operates the camera angles to reflect the point of view of each soldier. Their surprise is the audience’s surprise. The silence and then sudden shouting during interrogations especially instills the panic, yet relief that the enemy will always be caught and justice remounted.
To say “Act of Valor” hooks an audience from the beginning is an understatement. Viewers are more than hooked. They feel for the soldiers and families, possess that similar hope that each soldier will return home, and the unsettling fear that they will not.
One of the more touching scenes occurs after the squad accomplishes its first operation. Some soldiers are injured, some are shaken up, but all are alive. They share a brief moment of unspoken gratefulness and relief. However, they are quickly overcome with the fixed perception that their work is not done. Blank stares express exhaustion, but also reveal there is no time for contentment.
“Act of Valor” emphasizes that bravery is sacred. In spite of the gruesome images, the Navy Seals do not lose their humor or their will to defend.
The ending credits display the names of all the fallen soldiers since Sept. 11.
Although those who have not served can never fully understand what sights and emotions hide behind the eyes of a veteran, “Act of Valor” offers an awareness of the duties and sacrifices every soldier endures.
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