Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, 2010 (9.0*)
Memorial Day War-a-thon film #21
Documentary that follows The Men of Battle Company 2nd of the 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in Afghanistan's deadly Korangal Valley, as they work out of firebase they call Outpost Restrepo, after a fallen comrade, medic Juan Restrepo.

If you're interested about how contemporary American soldiers look in daily combat, this is as good a film as you'll get, shot with superb cinematography, as risk of the filmmakers themselves being shot. (Director Tim Hetherington was in fact killed while filming in Libya in March of this year).

The film is simply a journal, following the platoon with little narrative structure other than their building OP Restrepo, the 15-man outpost on a hill overlooking the entire enemy valley - and a patrol into the civilian population called Operation Rock Avalanche, during which the troops came under heavy fire. Through face-to-face interviews with the soldiers, we can see what this has done to their psyches, and many of the soldiers are just out of high school.

4 awards, including Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, out of 12 nominations, including an Oscar® nomination for documentary (Inside Job won). Tim Hetherington also won a Pulitzer Prize for a 2007 photo of the soldiers resting at Restrepo.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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