Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not as good as it should have been, 3 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Restrepo [DVD] (DVD)
Restrepo is a good film. In the sleeve-notes of the DVD, the filmakers say their intention 'was to capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers themselves'. And it's fair to say that they did achieve that very well. The film is very good at showing the up close experience of actual battle with all the adrenalin and fear, and then to counterpoint this with later interviews with the soldiers on how they really feel about it, behind the bravado. The film is also good in the way it demonstrates the other aspect of soldier's duties in terms of dealing with local civilians and discussing their concerns.

However, the great failing of this film is that it doesn't put any of this in context. The viewer is told that the soldiers are going into one of the most dangerous parts of the country, the Korengal Valley, for a year, and told that they are setting up a stronghold there, but it doesn't really go any further than that. We aren't told what their mission is, why they set up where they do, what kind of progress they make in that year, how their contacts and discussions with locals helps or hinders their aims there, nothing. So many ways they could have given us a bigger picture to try and understand this year in the valley a lot more, but they don't do it. The film avoids any kind of narrative at all.

Restrepo is worth watching, but with only being shown the up close and personal aspect of combat, we could be looking at soldiers in any war anywhere. There is value to that, but in watching it you yearn for the bigger picture. Imagine a camera focussed on the face of one player as he plays a football game, you see the emotions on his face, but is he playing well? How's the game going? Are they winning and what's at stake? Is it a big game? You're not told. This is a good film, but it should have been great.
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Initial post: 6 Jul 2011 11:13:34 BDT
J. B. Hunter says:
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait [DVD] [2006]
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