Restrepo is both my Mother’s Maiden name, and an American soldier’s last name, who was killed, and had an outpost in Afghanistan named after him. This outpost is of particular note, being in the most dangerous place on Earth. Or at least the most dangerous place in Afghanistan.
The Karengal Valley is a mountainous region where everyone EXCEPT the Americans know there way around. There are mortars, RPGs and Snipers pointed directly at OP Restrepo, the second OP in the valley, built deeper in to get a better footing, and named in honor of one of their fallen comrades, Private First Class Restrepo. The movie opens with Restrepo, the intrepid filmmaker, talking to the camera and chronicling the travel to Afghanistan with his fellow soldiers. He is soon killed, and as morale dives… the situation only gets more dire. The platoon, stationed at OP Korengal, is ordered to build another OP, deeper in the valley, and essentially cut off from any immediate support or rescue. OP Restrepo is erected, and Operation Rock Avalanche is not far behind.
The documentarians that put this piece of work together spent a year in these OPs with the soldiers, and suffered the same losses they did. Not only was Restrepo killed, but PFC Vimoto, as well as other soldiers in Rock Avalanche, and civilians. The movie is horrifying to say the least, literally on the ground floor of the Afghanistan conflict. It is not a drama or action film; it is real life, and the life lost here is lost for good. The scariest part is separating this movie from the fiction that it is entrenched in – from other documentaries that take license with their subject matter, to the wartime movies like Hurt Locker – this movie is filled to the brim with emotion and gun fire, and it is easy to forget these are real people on screen.
If you’re weird and like Documentaries, check it out. If you’re weird and like war movies, check it out. If you’re still reading this, just check it out.