Filmmakers Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger present a gripping insight into the experiences of a US platoon in their award-winning documentary Restrepo. The film, shot over the course of one year, follows the group of soldiers as they are stationed in Afghanistan’s deadly Korengal Valley. Restrepo is the name both of a remote outpost that the group build (considered one of the most dangerous in the country) and also that of a fellow comrade killed in action; a lingering reminder of the inevitable fatalities of the war they’re in.
Despite the high media profile of the war in Afghanistan, Restrepo gives a fresh perspective on the conflict through its unflinching front-line footage which focuses on the daily life of the US soldiers fighting in the country. This includes fraught moments when the platoon comes under direct attack but also times of boredom and light-hearted banter.
Refreshingly the filmmakers avoid heavy dramatisation and the film’s strength lies in the fact that it never falls into sentimentality, making it an intelligent work that doesn’t patronise its audience or attempt to make any conclusive comments on war, but instead conveys the human experience behind the headlines.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 15–Mon 18 Oct; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Mon 25–Thu 28 Oct.