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Review: Restrepo (2010)

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Documentaries can be misleading. As a viewer, we often expect docs to be un-biased, and just tell the story the way it develops. However, if you have seen any of Michael Moore’s work, you know that this isn’t the case usually. My only documentary based on war that I had seen previous to seeing Restrepo was The Tillman Story, telling the story of NFL Player/ Army Ranger Pat Tillman and his death and subsequent “cover up”. The Tillman Story obviously had an agenda. But enough about other movies. What I’m trying to say in a completely wordy way, is Restrepo is a breath of fresh air after seeing documentaries that push their ideas on you as viewers.

Restrepo is the story of the Second Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment of the United States Army and their 15 stay in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. The Korengal, is described in the movie as one of the deadliest places occupied by the Army, and faces firefights sometimes several times a day. There isn’t one big goal in the movie, other than that of survival. In their stay in the Valley, the young men build Outpost Restrepo (named after a fallen comrade), and they complete Operation Rock Avalance, a severely dangerous mission which leads to many deaths and injuries, not only among the soldiers but of the local populace.

Honestly, you might be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Restrepo. It won best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, and by the National Board of Review, along with being nominated for best doc at the 2011 Academy Awards. But if you’ve put off watching it, like I did, don’t. The pure, unfiltered emotion of this movie is enough to move even the coldest of grumpy old men. These guys aren’t acting, but risking their lives in the name of the United States. Restrepo, in my mind, is the clearest, most unadulterated look at military life. From how they relax, to how they cope, you get a sense of what each soldier goes through. It might not be the biggest blockbuster, but it is as real as it comes.

Rating: A

! Trailer Contains Language!

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