Under Fire: Journalists in Combat (2011)
Directed by Martyn Burke
The journalists that cover wars sometimes become casualties of the conflicts they’re following. In recent years journalists like Tim Hetherington (Restrepo) have died while documenting the violence happening around the world. The journalists who survive are often left with scars of their own. The emotional and mental trauma that comes with being witness to so much violence can irreparably damage the lives of these men and women. This documentary looks at the cost of covering wars and violence around the globe. Through interviews and footage from reports around the world, director Martyn Burke provides a startling view of the risks these people take to tell a story.
The strength of this documentary comes from the honest and open interviews done with both current and former war correspondents. As they reveal their own experiences, fears, and goals these people really bring reality to their profession. This includes discussing the impact on their lives when their friends and colleagues die on the job. In addition, they also reveal the reality behind being witness to atrocities and violence without the power to intervene.
At times this documentary does slow down a bit more than it should. The interviews are great, but the editing sometimes takes away from key moments in the film. This doesn’t kill the overall feel, but it is noticeable at times.
Overall, this is a very powerful documentary. Seeing the reporters break down when they’re asked to recount their experiences is a strong reminder of the price they’re paying to bring us the news and images of war. If you’re interested in understanding journalism and war, or just love documentaries, I would encourage seeing this film. It carries a message as powerful as Restrepo, but from the other side of the lens. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.