directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington
Sebastian Junger (who wrote The Perfect Storm, btw) and Tim Hetherington (cinematographer of The Devil Came on Horseback) join forces to tell the tale of Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade, stationed for 14 months in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, a location dubbed by CNN as “the deadliest place on earth.” That’s a bold statement, CNN, especially when locations like Liberia, The Sudan, and Texas (where one of the primary industries is lethal injection) exist in the world. But the Korengal Valley is no joke, a desolate, isolated place where the Taliban forces lurk like monsters in the mountains and engage the soldiers multiple times a day. For 14 effing months! Studies have been done about soldiers forced into prolonged, ultra-intense combat situations, soldiers like the 101st Airborne division on which the stellar series Band of Brothers was based, studies that show how situations like this can severely jack you up forever and ever. Try to imagine being engaged in sudden firefights 3 to 4 to 5 times a day, and try to imagine how, after over a year, the loss of friends and fellow soldiers may affect you. Junger and Hetherington film the shit out of the experience, and they make damn sure to withhold any opinion they may have about the war, instead documenting, in the purest sense, the singular and excruciating experience of being a soldier charged with defending the edge of the map. Why is it called Restrepo? Watch the film for an answer to that query. But steel yourself, because it won’t be easy.