Restrepo is a 2010 documentary film directed by American journalist Sebastian Junger and British-American photojournalist Tim Hetherington. The documentary follows the exploits of the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company during their 15-month deployment to the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. Junger and Hetherington were both embedded with 2nd Platoon while on assignment for Vanity Fair in 2007.
The Korengal Valley was considered one of the most dangerous places in the world at that time, with reports of hostile contact from the Taliban coming in every single day. Captain Dan Karney of 2nd Platoon attempted to develop a campaign plan in which “…after two months of being there, I would fix it and we wouldn’t get shot at anymore.” Kearny’s plan seemed extremely overambitious and dangerous to me, as it involved getting residents of the Korengal, most with deep familial and religious convictions, to turn away members of their family involved with the Taliban. I never took into account that simply being stationed in the Korengal Valley was far more dangerous.
The film is named after PFC Juan “Doc” Restrepo, a combat medic in 2nd Platoon, shot in the neck twice from enemy fire.
Restrepo is possibly the most emotionally draining, intense thing I have ever witnessed. Junger gets up close and personal. I laughed and smiled. I also worried for them. Junger, and by extension, the viewer, was there for Operation Rock Avalanche.
There’s not much I else I can say about Restrepo other than it is an engrossing, emotional documentary that I highly recommend checking out.