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Restrepo

  • Date Submitted: 12/11/2012 04:38 PM
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Josephine Martin
Professor Mary McCay
Politics and Reel Life
17 November 2011
Restrepo Draft
Though the documentary Restrepo emphasizes an objectivity and evades a clear political message, one emotional theme still emerges. Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, the makers of the documentary, seek to relay the emotional terrain of war to their audience. Restrepo follows the men of the Second Platoon, Battle Company, on a 15 month deployment in the Korengal Valley of Eastern Afghanistan. At the time, the Korengal Valley was regarded as "the deadliest place on Earth." Throughout their deployment, the men’s lives were constantly threatened . Hetherington and Junger are able to express the men’s range of emotions through three key scenes. There is sadness and fear when Juan “Doc” Restrepo is killed, humor and aggression in the cafeteria, and a rush of adrenaline after a midday firefight.
Most dramatically, the audience witnesses the immediate aftermath of Juan “Doc” Restrepo’s death early in their deployment, followed by the emotional reactions of the soldiers. Private First Class Juan “Doc” Restrepo was killed in action during the early days of the deployment on which the film is based. He was so beloved by his comrades that they later named a strategic outpost after him in remembrance. The audience learns of his demise in a segment that alternates between post-war interviews with Specialist Miguel Cortez, Specialist Kyle Steiner, First Sergeant LaMonta Caldwell, and Specialist Misha Pemble, and shaky shots of the chaotic battle. The interviews are shot at eye-level with extreme close-ups around the men’s faces. The background is black, gives way to brightly lit faces that dominant the shots. The emphasis on their facial expressions is very honest and reveals a heavy sadness in all of their eyes, even when their words are spoken in an even tone (Restrepo).
The hand-held scenes of the firefight are, in a sharp contrast to the interviews, filmed shakily and...

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