This month sees the release of the follow up to the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo, a film about the war in Afghanistan. Made by the same team that produced Restrepo (though the British photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed whilst covering to conflict in Libya in 2011), Korengal features footage cut from the original, whilst also conducting follow up interviews with some of those soldiers featured as they look back on the conflict. The impact of the war on these men is clear, both the negative and the positive, in particular the loss of comradeship and the impossibility of living such an adrenaline-fuelled life ever again; at one point, one soldier says: “I’d go back there if I could.”
The veteran journalist Sebastian Junger, whose book War was a triumph in story-telling, has once again translated combat experience to film, helping the civilian world understand what it is those men in uniform do, how they endure, and how it continues to shape them even if they’re thousands of miles away from a particular place. Physical distance doesn’t always equate to mental perspective.
Restrepo was genuinely one of the greatest films on men in war that I’ve seen. If you haven’t seen it already, watch it, and then go watch Korengal. I can’t wait to see it.