This documentary has everything including the firefights of war, losing teammates, being away from family, etc. It gives a lot of good insight about what the soldiers do there, why they are there, and how dangerous it really is to be over in Iraq. This documentary was really scary and heartbreaking. The fallen teammates' stories were really sad and depressing. The fact that the soldiers saw their teammates die/get injured then were able to keep fighting really shows how strong they are. This documentary is a good tribute to Restrepo and I literally almost cried at the end. It was so sad. This documentary is by far the best I have ever seen. It's all true and it's right there in the action- in the most dangerous post in Afghanistan. This documentary does a fantastic job at showing the other side of the Iraqi war.
This was a very good documentary on war in Afghanistan, it's very real and humane which is exactly what you want from one. This documentary isn't different from what we know about the war but it's equally important to see what goes on there. I was eager to know why the film was named 'Restrepo' and now I know, if you wanna know you better see it... I'm just kidding i'm gonna tell you. The movie's title comes from Private First Class Juan "Doc" Restrepo, whose memory is also honored in the company's isolated base camp, OP Restrepo.
Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan's most strategically crucial valleys reveals extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban.
RIP Tim Hetherington
edit 4/20/2011: tim hetherington, british photojournalist and filmmaker, was killed today in libya. he was 41. rip.
A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.
Filmmakers Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger take their cameras into the trenches for a "day in the life" look at what it's like to fight in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, nicknamed the most dangerous place on earth.
There, a platoon of battle-weary men fight the Taliban, an elusive spectre of an enemy that they rarely actually see. They seem to have little interest in what they're doing or why they're doing it; they only come alive immediately after a fire-fight (of which they have at least 3 or 4 a day), when the adrenaline of battle gives them a natural high. The rest of the time they spend going about their more mundane duties, feeling at all times like fish in a barrel.
Late into the film, one of their men is killed in a battle that pretty much all of them agree was one of their worst moments during the whole period. Other men had been killed, but this seems to be one of the first that the men actually see die before their eyes. It has a devastating effect -- they collapse into sobs and turn instantly from fighting men into small boys, and our hearts go out to them with compassion and the frustrated regret that they have to live like this while the rest of us go about our cushy existence.
"Restrepo" confirms what a lot of fictional accounts of the War on Terror (or whatever it is we're calling it now) have suggested: the feelings of determination and vengeance that got us into all of these messy military conflicts have long since given way to depressed resignation. No one is really sure what we're doing anymore, these soldiers least of all, and watching "Restrepo" didn't feel much different from watching a documentary about Vietnam.
The DVD cover contextualizes Restrepo "coming after The Hurt Locker," and this an apt comparison. Both films attempt to be apolitical (though it may be my liberal sensibilities that make me see both films as anti-war), and both films deal with the intense personal damage inflicted by armed conflict. These films present a little realized truth, one that Chris Hedges, whose quote serves as an epigraph for The Hurt Locker, so eloquently describes in War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. Namely, combat veterans become addicted to war, and this drug wreaks as much havoc as any chemical.
Overall, though some documentaries are able to mold the subject matter into a coherent storyline, Restrepo presents soldier life in all its ugliness and glory, and what we come away with is the stark realization that both responses - ugliness and glory - can actually occur in the same moment.
It's seemingly tough to get a solid film about the war in the middle east out there, but more and more are being made, and this is certainly one of the more successful ones. Stemming from an assignment for Vanity Fair, journalist and photographers Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's spent a year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan's most strategically crucial valleys. The footage captured reveals great insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers work to push back the Taliban and keep the locals at bay.
This film manages to combine both the tense atmosphere of warfare with the sometimes tedious nature of the situation. For all the firefights these boys go through, we also see them dealing with their down time and handling the locals in the area. It's an interesting mix, but never sets the film off balance, as I was constantly into seeing the proceedings of the platoons involved.
These men truly had it tough, as there are pretty much firefights everyday, with attacks coming at different directions and always surprising. The opening sequence of this doc certainly puts you into the world these soldiers are a part of, with an attack literally springing on the men as they travel along in a vehicle. It's exciting stuff, as we see the men guide the camera men to safety, then view from his perspective as the soldiers try to figure out their situation.
You also have the scenes involving the soldiers dealing with the locals. Seeing the weekly meetings with the very old villagers, watching the platoon trying to help them understand what will be happening in the area, and listening to a specific instance where the soldiers must deal with the repercussions of putting a cow out of it's misery all function to once again provide us with perspective on the situation that the platoons are in here.
Kyle M. Steiner: It takes a lot out of you, once you see one of your boys get hurt.
The film really does become strong once it deals with the men who are wounded or killed in action, and seeing these soldiers deal with those crisis. The title of the film, Restrepo, is actually the name of one of the soldier's who was killed in action during the filming of these events. Restrepo would then become the name of the operation post setup in the valley, which would make a difference in defending the area and pushing back the enemy.
All of this is made more powerful due to the way this documentary was assembled. Put together from a year's worth of footage, this feature runs for just over 90 minutes, but doesn't try to hash out a major narrative. It gives you enough of the year to send across an idea of what it was like for these men, but doesn't every take any sort of stance politically or otherwise. There is no narration, instead relying on debriefings from soldiers following their tour in Afghanistan. These debriefings are well handled, shot with the camera directly on them, having the men respond truthfully, which is very understated, therefore portraying a lot of real emotion as they gather their thoughts.
I found the portrayal of this particular platoon and the year they had to spend in a very deadly area to be quite fascinating. The fly-on-the-wall approach to the documentary filmmaking was effective. I appreciated the lack of any sort of politics being inserted into the feature. And hearing and seeing the soldiers reflect on the situation they found themselves in was handled very well. This was a very solid doc, that puts you right into fray and manages to inform and keep one interested.
Dan Kearney: You think, if they got our best guy, where does that leave me? What does that say about me?