Restrepo, a film by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington
This film is cinéma vérité at its finest. As photojournalist Hetherington and journalist Junger follow a Platoon on a 15-month deployment in the Korengal Valley of northeast Afghanistan, we the viewer are along for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The mission of this deployment was to secure the valley of insurgents and to make peace with the local people. The base, that was built by the Platoon during this operation, was named Restrepo, after a beloved medic that was killed early on during the mission.
While watching this film I found myself feeling as though I was on the hillside with the Platoon, wanting to reach out and comfort them as best I could, but riveted by what was unfolding. There is no interference by the filmmakers as far as voice over or narration, which draws us in as viewers to the raw realness of war.
Restrepo is a captivating documentary that chronicles these heroic men’s lives during their year long deployment. I recommend everyone seeing this film.
“The war in Afghanistan has become highly politicized, but soldiers rarely take part in that discussion. Our intention was to capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers themselves. Their lives were our lives: we did not sit down with their families, we did not interview Afghans, we did not explore geopolitical debates. Soldiers are living and fighting and dying at remote outposts in Afghanistan in conditions that few Americans back home can imagine. Their experiences are important to understand, regardless of one’s political beliefs. Beliefs are a way to avoid looking at reality. This is reality.”
– Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger