30 May 2014 2:09 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

With its unblinking focus on young American soldiers sent to fight a seemingly inexhaustible enemy on its home turf, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s “Restrepo” was one of the more gripping war documentaries to emerge in recent years, and one of a relative few to bring much-needed attention to the conflict in Afghanistan. Returning to the extraordinary footage he shot with Hetherington, who was killed while covering Libya in 2011, Junger has emerged with a worthy companion piece in “Korengal,” a less harrowing, more reflective dispatch from the front lines, and an equally vital examination of the strange crucible of selflessness, courage, bloodlust, rage, confusion and fear endured by the brave men interviewed here. The recent success of the Afghanistan combat drama “Lone Survivor” notwithstanding, commercial prospects remain slim for this sort of tough, matter-of-fact war reportage, making it unlikely that “Korengal” (whose release was funded by Kickstarter) will surpass »


- Justin Chang

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