Updated: May 27, 2020
WOW! Just watched 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize award winning documentary, “Restrepo.” This mind-blowing film grabs you and never lets go. Seeing these boys fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan day-in, day-out and getting each other through the difficult times, losing soldiers, their comrades, their friends, is incredibly heartfelt. The footage is very real and extremely powerful! You feel somewhat like you’re there in the mountains with them as the cameras follow them everywhere. And who are these brave cameramen?
Who are these courageous filmmakers willing to put their lives on the line to be able to share the lives of these soldiers putting their lives on the line? Sebastian Junger wrote the book, The Perfect Storm, made into a movie starring George Clooney in 2000. Tim Hetherington was a celebrated cinematographer who worked mainly on documentaries. Hetherington was covering the war in Libya on April 20, 2011 when he was killed in a mortar strike. His legacy will not be forgotten as the men that fight these battles will not be forgotten. We like to think of our soldiers as strong warriors that never express their feelings. Seeing this film makes you understand the importance of soldiers sharing their emotions. How does it feel to lose a brother? The rest of the family has to move on. At war, the enemy doesn’t wait for grievances, but it’s important that these soldiers take moments to pray and remember the dead.
“Restrepo” is such an important film for so many reasons. The war is a decade old. Osama bin Laden is dead, but the war is not over. Americans forget what it’s like to not be at war. It’s now such a part of our every day lives that people shrug it off. It’s only when soldiers die or innocent civilians are killed that it makes the news. “Restrepo” is a great reminder of who’s fighting this war and the fact that we are still over there fighting. You can feel the fear the men and boys are going through. America needs to be reminded about the war. Many Americans don’t think too much about it as they don’t know anyone fighting in Afghanistan. This film brings it home to those Americans that don’t have a brother or a father overseas putting their lives on the line. Support the troops while they’re still there. Support filmmakers in making important films, bringing home the insight that makes us think differently and change us for the better.
Tim Hetherington RIP