RestrepoFeature Film |
A unique document of the Afghan conflict.
Filmmakers Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger may eschew proselytizing in Restrepo, their grunt's-eye-view documentary of the war in Afghanistan, but the politics of the war are unavoidable. The movie details the experiences of Battle Company, Second Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in the Korengal Valley—the deadliest combat zone in the country when the film was shot. The jerky handheld camerawork and jumpy editing (the chronology is not always clear) give the documentary a unique immediacy, capturing the desperate tedium of waiting for action, the sick rush of a sudden firefight, and the horror of losing a comrade. Hetherington and Junger spent about five months at the remote outpost with the soldiers, and earned their trust, enabling the directors to capture the platoon's camaraderie. The Korengal footage is intercut with interviews with several soldiers after their tours, and some of them wonder aloud how they'll ever recover from what they've seen. Just as Katheryn Bigelow did with The Hurt Locker, Hetherington and Junger claim that Restrepo is apolitical, but it's hard to imagine a viewer who wouldn't see the deployment of these young men as a tragedy. Regardless of intent, Restrepo is a powerful anti-war film.