Director: Sebastian Junger
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014
Run Time: 90 minutes
In 2010, the Academy Award nominated war documentary, Restrepo, provided audiences with a visceral look at the war in
by following a platoon
in one of the deadliest valleys. Named after a fallen soldier who would also
inspire the name of a high-ground outpost in the Afghanistan ,
Restrepo focused a great deal on the grief felt by the platoon at this loss.
The follow-up feature developed with the help of Kickstarter by filmmaker
Sebastian Junger is conversely more interested in the appeal and monotony of
the actual lifestyle developed in war. Korengal Valley
Although much of the film is clearly made up of odds and ends that went unused in the first film, combined with some new footage from the second platoon, it is clear that Junger has much leftover to be said from the first film. Though many themes from the first film are repeated, including more grieving for Private First Class Juan Restrepo, there is much more focus on the thrill of firefights. To an extent, the increased honesty from the soldiers this time around makes for a more insightful journey, but one can’t help but wonder if there was a greater film to be found from combining both features.
There are many familiar faces from Restrepo in Korengal, as well as newcomers, but the narrative is less interested in individuals as it is the mood of the atmosphere. Soldiers describe both the feeling of adrenaline that comes with a firefight and the huge letdown that comes once it has finished. Boredom is so bad for some of them that they actually hope for an altercation to break up the monotony of waiting. There are also different reactions from various soldiers about the aftermath of their actions. While some rejoice in the act of shooting down enemy soldiers, others question the moral ramifications of killing.
The DVD release comes with an optional commentary track from Junger, as well as a special “Ted Talk” featuring the filmmaker, discussing why veterans miss war once they have completed their service.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 7/10