Restrepo chronicles a year with a single platoon stationed at the Restrepo outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, considered one of the military's most dangerous postings.
Co-directors Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington spent 10 months with the platoon, capturing the daily lives of soldiers as they pushed back Taliban fighters and foreign insurgents.
The filmmakers consciously avoided revisiting the political debates over the Afghan war, Junger tells NPR's Neal Conan. The soldiers "really don't talk about their politics. But their reality, their emotional reality, is not often reported on. ... We really wanted to somehow give the nation access to that reality."
Junger and Hetherington also hope their film will help viewers think more critically about the needs of soldiers as they return to civilian life. "Many of these young men were going through some of the most traumatic experiences in their life ... living daily with the risk of death, or watching friends die around them," says Hetherington.
"Ultimately, these young men that we've instrumentalized and sent out there ... on taxpayer dollar are coming back home," Hetherington says. "And we have to make a space for them, we have to ... realize what they've been through."