Talking Oscar-Nominated Lone Survivor Sound

Peter Berg’s underrated Lone Survivor received its lone Oscar nominations in the sound editing and mixing categories, but it’s well-deserved. The fact-based adventure about a failed Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan grabs us by the throat and never lets up. And the sound is among the most intense and immersive experiences for a modern war film.

The sound design has an emotional arc all its own: At the beginning, the sound is real smooth, almost romantic, as we’re getting to know the four SEALS (Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster). Sounds bleed over the cut as they’re talking; the sound of the helicopters is nice and round. There’s nothing abrasive about it. Then, when the mission begins, the sounds of the helicopters are larger than life, almost triumphant. However, the initial gun battle is very aggressive and location specific and they tried to be accurate. What would the Navy SEALS say?

But then the sound team (led by editor Wylie Stateman and mixers Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, and David Brownlow) create a sense of confusion. We don’t know how many combatants there are. The SEALS are surrounded. And after the first cliff fall, which is a case study in sound editing and mixing, the soundscape becomes confusing and frenetic, full of distortion and desolation.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Movies, Sound, Tech, Trailers

Add a Comment