Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  1. A film that is beautiful, harrowing, heartbreaking -- and necessary.
  2. 100
    Restrepo is about soldiers, not politics. The question of whether U.S. troops belong there isn't posed. Their devotion to duty and each other is unquestioned.
  3. This movie will stir your heart and open your mind. It's a group portrait of practicing patriots.
  4. 100
    There is the sense they're fighting for each other more than for ideology.
  5. 91
    Restrepo can be tedious at times and nerve-racking at others, but why shouldn't it be? That's exactly what Junger and Hetherington saw on the front lines, so that's what they show, with very little filter.
  6. Because the war in Afghanistan is so much in the news now – it should always have been so – a movie like Restrepo is both a bracing document and, in a larger sense, a disappointment.
  7. The film is a nearly unrelenting nightmare. Even interviews shot with the survivors after the fact have a current of dread.
  8. What Restrepo does so dramatically, so convincingly, is make the abstract concrete, giving the soldiers on the front lines faces and voices.
  9. 90
    As the war in Afghanistan returns to the front pages and the national debate, we owe the men in Restrepo, at the very least, 90 minutes or so of our attention. If nothing else, this film, in showing how much they care about one another, demands the same of us.
  10. 90
    The filmmakers have created a wrenching piece of work that allows the viewer to draw his own conclusions-and should make anyone of whatever political persuasion think about exactly what they mean when claiming to "support the troops."
  11. 90
    Junger and Hetherington take our conflicted ideas about war and its let's-make-a-man-out-of-you purpose and throw them in our faces, in a way "Hurt Locker" never does.
  12. Restrepo is an example of photojournalism at its finest.
  13. If you're looking for a political message, either for or against U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, this is not your movie. The directors were satisfied with telling us about a group of courageous, honorable young soldiers - a salute these men richly deserve.
  14. 88
    A gut-wrenching, politically neutral documentary that spends more than a year with a platoon of American GIs in a valley that's been called the most dangerous spot on Earth.
  15. According to this courageous, you-are-there documentary, the platoon took enemy fire almost every day, perhaps the longest exposure to combat the U.S. has engaged in since World War II.
  16. The film is unusually free of cant and the usual trappings of war docs. There is no voice-over narration and very little dramatic underscoring. Right or wrong, the filmmakers shave matters of political policy and contextual analysis clean off the finished product, which runs a tight 94 minutes.
  17. It gives such a down-to-Earth view of the joys, terrors, boredom, anxieties and camaraderie in a war zone.
  18. 85
    The low-key quality of the filmmaking in Restrepo only intensifies the reality of how much these kids are risking.
  19. 83
    You can't help but share the feelings, many of them subrational, that coarse through the soldiers as they live a hellish year in a hellish place.
  20. Reviewed by: Mark Dinning
    Powerful, terrifying and soulful, this real-life Hurt Locker is an intimate, often brilliant insight into combat and comradeship.
  21. 80
    For a movie that's both a study and a product of blood, sweat, and tears, an oft-cited mid-'60s quote from film and combat vet Samuel Fuller seems to apply: "Film is a battlefield," Fuller said in Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le fou. "There's love, hate, action, violence, death. In a word: emotions."
  22. Stripped to a minimum of editorializing (but, like "The Hurt Locker," flush with sympathy), this Afghanistan-shot war documentary takes its cues from the unblinking style of cinema verité.
  23. 80
    The movie premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, too soon to include a tragic denouement: in April the U.S. command surrendered the Korangal Valley to the Taliban.
  24. Engagement with the enemy isn't a possibility here. It's a certainty. The unit will face fire daily, sometimes as often as four or five times. The stress is incredible, the courage displayed even more so.
  25. A documentary so real and unflinching (and at times deeply frightening) that it's hard to watch, but it is one of those film experiences that you'll feel glad about getting through.
  26. 75
    The filmmakers offer no commentary. We watch. And what we see is explosive, deeply moving and impossible to shake.
  27. 75
    The movie puts us so close to so much yet keeps its emotional distance -- as if to say, no matter how much we see, we'll never truly know.
  28. Watching the film one comes away feeling the bond that links these guys.
  29. 75
    Restrepo makes time to observe these men during brief off-duty stints -- at one point four use an iPod to form an impromptu, joyous dance party -- but the bulk of the film centers on their insanely dangerous and heroic work.
  30. In-depth account of Army deployment in an Afghanistan hotspot shows soldiering at its most rugged.
  31. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    But despite its remarkably intimate footage of war and loss, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's documentary suffers from the same problem as the ongoing U.S. drama in Afghanistan: a lack of narrative coherence.
  32. It's doubtful you'll ever see a combat documentary that channels the chaos of war as thoroughly as this one.
  33. Even after experiencing the film, what they've gone through - and how they deal with it - deliberately remains a mystery.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Jan 2, 2011
    This movie is just boring. If you realize that war sucks because people die, you wont see or feel anything new. Movie critics walk on eggThis movie is just boring. If you realize that war sucks because people die, you wont see or feel anything new. Movie critics walk on egg shells around the subject of dead soldiers, but it doesn't make it an interesting documentary. Full Review »
  2. Aug 20, 2010
    I'm a huge war film and documentary fan and a high school history teacher so I had high expectations about this film and was certainly notI'm a huge war film and documentary fan and a high school history teacher so I had high expectations about this film and was certainly not disappointed. This was clearly one of the most powerful war movies I've ever seen. I never got a sense that the soldiers or the filmmakers had a clear point of view about the war or their role but that, in and of itself, says much about the overall U.S./Afghanistan policy. I couldn't help but see frightening glimpses of Vietnam, Iraq, and Korea. History certainly repeats itself and we (the U.S.) seemingly never learn our lesson; however, this movie proves that sending young, innocent men into harm's way for cloudy objectives is too often the default and demented policy of a nation too quick with the trigger finger and an egomaniacal attitude. I highly recommend seeing this movie and I intend on showing it to my students when it comes out on DVD. Full Review »
  3. Sep 24, 2014
    There's something not right about this documentary.
    It frames the soldiers as home-spun, good-natured boys with the bricks stacked against
    There's something not right about this documentary.
    It frames the soldiers as home-spun, good-natured boys with the bricks stacked against them in an almost-indefensible outpost in the middle of no-man's land. But no questions are ever answered.
    What were they doing there in the first place, other than provoking the locals?
    Was there any strategic reason to be there?
    Why does the camera linger so much on scenes when they break down and cry for their fallen comrades, then offer little judgement or lingering on the counterpoint moments when they're joyfully gunning down the enemy, celebrating that they made their heads explode - in full knowledge that that soldier's parents are most likely just down the road from them?
    How long can we hear about how demoralised, distraught and emotionally-scarred these soldiers are before we turn a single thought towards the people surrounding them?
    In essence, this comes across, to me at least, as a politically-motivated propaganda piece in the guise of a non-authorial documentary.
    For all that, it is interesting - but seldom compelling.
    Full Review »