A documentary covering a deployment of Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in 2007-8. The deployment lasted 15 months and was at one of the most dangerous places on earth - certainly the most dangerous place, at the time, for US forces: the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Journalist Sebastian Junger and photojournalist Tim Hetherington was embedded with the 2nd Platoon of B Company and captures their daily lives, the action, the military strategy, the interaction with the community and the tragedy.
An engaging documentary that captures very well the intensity, suddenness and randomness of combat, and what it can do to those involved. We also see the diplomatic complexities that the US forces have to overcome, as they try to keep the civilian population onside while at the same time treating them with suspicion and occasionally accidentally injuring them and/or disrupting their lives.
The trauma of taking casualties, especially fatalities, is well explored, as is the bond between the soldiers which makes the casualties harder to take.
A well-made, bravely-filmed documentary with no political agenda (which is a good thing).
There's no way they can approach the war from a problem-solving standpoint, try as they might, because they've been pressured and brought up by the media to fear terrorists and to sublimate that fear into dutifully carrying out a mission. This detachment affects every type of soldier, even the one with a sense of hyper-focus and initiative. Fear does the opposite of what one might think, which would be to prepare young men and women for the constant imminent danger that pervades any war zone. Whereas, members of a tribal village like the one in Korengal Valley, are deeply familiar with the feeling of fighting in a war, and as a result they are not so emotional or confused about why they are there. Hence, the utter pointlessness of war, as one critic pointed out..