Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I watched Restrepo last night, the documentary about a platoon of soldiers in the Korengal valley in Afghanistan in 2007-2008. As documentaries of this sort go, I thought it was well above average; the structure, tone, and quality of this film is quite a bit better than most documentaries in this category.

It helps that this film is based on the the work of two embedded journalists (a writer and a photographer) that were writing books and thus made multiple, lengthy visits over the course of a year. I've seen a few documentaries that basically strung together B-roll footage from one brief visit to the front lines and, frankly, those films were not well done. Some of these films unnecessarily cheer lead for the troops while other films go out of their way to embarrass or exploit the soldiers. Restrepo, to me, seemed entirely fair yet sensitive.

I thought the documentary did a good job of being "a fly on the wall" while these young soldiers were isolated in a small mountain outpost overlooking a beautiful but unbelievably dangerous valley near the Afghan border of Pakistan. The terrain is simply unbelievable.

I was surprised not to hear any mention of Sal Giunta. I thought I might have spotted the Medal of Honor winner a few times standing in the background, but it was hard to tell and I didn't notice him mentioned by name. This is however his company, his company commander, and the same time and place as his acclaimed actions.

I'm currently reading Sebastian Junger's Book, War, based on the same embed.

1 comment:

Eric Young said...

I got to see part of it and got the same impressions as you did...