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DVD Review

DVD cover

Battle Company: Korengal


Distributor: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 09 June 2014

Sebastian Junger found fame following the publication of his book The Perfect Storm (1997) which was subsequently made into a film starring George Clooney. As well as a writer Junger also set about creating documentaries which chronicled the American experience of war in Afghanistan.

Battle Company Korengal (2013 - 1 hr, 20 min, 58 sec) is the sequel to the 2010 documentary Restrepo, both directed by Junger. Junger spent nearly a year with the company and as well as the documentary the experience produced articles and his 2010 book War. The documentary follows the same men as Restrepo, the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company who were sent to the Korengal valley for a fifteen month tour of duty.

The thing which struck me the most was how basic the platoons equipment was, although they are fighting a war in the 21st century, little, if anything, seems to have changed since the Vietnam war. No high tech drones and what appears to be very little backup, the platoon tries to survive against an enemy which knows the terrain better than they do and have more mobility as they are not carrying combat backpacks across mountainous terrain. War in the valley is not about winning, it’s about survival.

In one of the film's best sequences Junger adds a music track to a firefight on the mountain to simulate the adrenaline rush the men feel when they are shooting their guns. It’s something which the soldiers admit that they not only enjoyed at the time and miss when they are no longer in combat. In between the moments of fighting the platoons experience is one mainly of boredom. Stuck together in a very small camp the men’s greatest enemy is being stuck together for such protracted periods of time.

Given that it is the same men as the previous film, Korengal feels less like a sequel, more like a continuation. For that reason Korengal has little more to say that hadn’t been covered in Restrepo. That said, both films are compulsive viewing.

Considering the conditions under which the film was made, the picture is very clear and detailed. You have audio option for either DD5.1 or DD2.0. The disc contains no extras.


Charles Packer

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