Sunday, May 29, 2011

Restrepo (2010)

With tomorrow being Memorial Day we continue our weekend of films on the fighting men of the the US military with the Oscar Nominated film Restrepo.

The title of the film is the name of a fallen soldier. He was a well loved medic who died in battle. In his honor his men named the forward position of their base in the Korengal Valley. It's a place that takes fire everyday. It was built on the place that one of the main places used for attack by the men fighting American forces.

The film covers a year with the men at the base. It show the men as they interact with the locals, fight the enemy and wait. It's put together to give one the feel of what life is like in the trenches- or in this case on the mountain in the firebase. Footage of life in the base is inter-cut with interviews with the men.

I really liked this film. It's a great view of what the soldiers in Afghanistan are experiencing. It's a film that makes the news stories become more than just a sound bite with an action shot. This is a real nuts and bolts look at what our fighting men our experiencing.

You need to see this.

Currently out on DVD.

Addendum: When I wrote this brief piece several months ago co director Tim Hetherington was still alive. When I heard of Hetherington's death I started to tinker with the post in order to some how mention his passing but I couldn't come up with anything that worked. For me Restrepo works because it's basically the soldiers being themselves without outside interference. Its a simple film of great power that I had to mention even though I didn't have a lot of words simply because it's so important. Hetherington's death doesn't change that, even if it drives home the notion that war is dangerous.

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