Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011


This extraordinary documentary is the ultimate in cinema verite and is the work of two intrepid and fearless filmmakers who chose to live through a grueling 14-month tour of duty with a company of American solders in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.  They witness and record everything that happens: reconnaissance missions, constant gunfights, backbreaking manual work, the unceasing hours of grinding boredom, the unfettered camaraderie of all these very young men who could have their lives cut short at any given moment.

Based in Korangal Valley in a sparsely inhabited mountainous region considered by the Army of vital strategic importance,  so the solders had to endure the daily attacks by the Taliban (euphemistically called ‘engagements with the enemy’) and simply try to stay alive. Some didn’t manage that (their Outpost ‘Restrepo’ is named one) and witnessing the men’s impassioned emotions when one of their comrades is killed is a powerful heartbreaking reminder that this is not a movie, but a real war in real life.

When the Tour is over the two filmmakers Sebastian Junger & Tim Heatherington interview each of the soldiers who are all trying to make sense of what they have done and seen.  As we too are, as mere observers.  Credit to the filmmakers for avoiding political discussions or making any judgments on this war, or war in general.  That reality of watching young man willing to sacrifice their own lives in the name of their country defending a part of a foreign region that the Army withdraws from a few months later, is something we cannot avoid questioning ourselves.
R.T.V. I am in total awe of the brave young men who chose to risk everything for us all, as I also am of the filmmakers who’s own intrepidness ended up with this exceptional and stunning piece of journalism which may have been pipped at the post for an Oscar, but should be compulsory viewing for everyone.  It’s a rare film that I give a perfect score too : and this is one such movie.


Posted by queerguru  at  20:52


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