Director: Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
Year Released: 2010
Journalist Junger and Hetherington spend a good deal of time with The Troops (support them, goddamn it) in the nasty, violent Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, where the Army has set up an outpost named after a lost buddy ("Doc" Restrepo) and has to fight constantly against The Enemy. The filmmakers do nice work recording both the wild and the humdrum parts of the soldiers' lives - their goofing around, their working out, their doing their jobs, their (understandable) panic and anxiety - but their attempt to remove the politics from the situation is just thoughtless: Junger's said he just wanted to record the lives of the men without the political details or bigger picture, but in skirting those very relevant details they're really making this an Us-Equals-Good, Them-Equals-Bad situation. If someone were to view this several years down the line, without much knowledge of the battles in Afghanistan, what would they think about us being there? What are we doing? "Who" is this enemy? Why are we on their land? In reducing the Other into a series of bullets fired from far away (unseen, only 'spoken of'), they've made more of a horror film than a document of a convoluted guerrilla war.