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Hell and Back Again [Blu-ray]
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2012 Academy Award® Nominee, Best Documentary Feature. Winner, 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Cinematography Prize.
In 2009, U.S. Marines launched a major helicopter assault on a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. Within hours of being dropped deep behind enemy lines, 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris s unit is attacked from all sides.
Embedded in Echo Company during the assault, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis captures the frontline action with visceral immediacy. When Sergeant Harris returns home to North Carolina after a life-threatening injury in battle, the film evolves from stunning war reportage to the story of one man s personal apocalypse. With the love and support of his wife, Ashley, Harris struggles to overcome the difficulties of transitioning back to civilian life. The two realities seamlessly intertwine to communicate both the extraordinary drama of war and, for a generation of soldiers, the no-less-difficult experience of returning home. An unprecedented exploration of the moving image and a film of uncommon intimacy, HELL AND BACK AGAIN comes full circle as it lays bare the true cost of war.
- Audio Commentary with Director Danfung Dennis and Editor Fiona Otway
- Technical Gear Demo: How HELL AND BACK AGAIN was filmed
- Willie Nelson s Hell and Back: Slide Show
- Deleted Scenes
extraordinary hard to shake --indieWIRE
One of the greatest war films of this generation. --AMC's Filmcritic.com
Top Customer Reviews
But far more than just an in-country document, Danfung crosscuts and juxtaposes the Afghanistan footage with the personal story of Sergeant Nathan Harris as he readjusts to home life after returning from Echo Company with a rather traumatic injury. For the most part, Harris is the voice of the piece. Danfung doesn't conduct typical interviews, the men in Afghanistan aren't explored in depth, and what we're left with is Harris. He represents the every man persona, or every soldier in this case. He is the consummate soldier, seeing nothing outside of being able to return to his duties.Read more ›
Such is the case for 'Hell and Back Again,' an honest portrait of gung-ho soldier Sergeant Nathan Harris, and a film which criss-crosses between serving the end of his third duty in Afghanistan and his homeridden rehabilitation from a wound he received just days before his last duty ended. At first we see him as an able commander, barking at and leading his troops through some harrowing campaigns as we see their counter insurgency increase the pressure on the Taliban.
At home Ashley, his wife, is supportive, and many of his fellow North Carolina residents receive him warmly. Rehabilitation takes its toll in the Harris home as we see VA meetings, rehabilitation sessions, trips to Wal-Mart, stops for multiple prescriptions, and home scenes generously provided. As we close in on the battles that led to his injury, the fallout of PTSD becomes more apparent. Even the rucuperating soldier admits that he prefers the rigors of Afghanistan over the little hassles that stress him out so keenly on the homefront. A bullet hit him in the hip, rickocheted through his right leg, and left him unable to walk and in great pain. In Afghanistan we seem him as a brave commander and the best of sometimes a bad lot at persuading Afghanistan citizens.Read more ›
The film tells two parallel stories of the same man. Dennis intercuts between Harris's time in Afghanistan and his recovery period at home as he deals with medications, finding an appropriate house and realizing his days as a grunt are over. His wife Ashley stands by him the whole way, even enduring the ghosts of war stirring inside him. These are powerful moments in their simplicity, the whole Spartan image teenagers are fed on the TV ads and through neo-propaganda films like the recent "Act Of Valor" is stripped down to the bare reality: The average soldier is a working-class citizen, not a comic book character. Nathan Harris is the perfect embodiment of the modern American male in his mid-20s: Nice but a bit ignorant, we notice he has few interests aside from guns and video games, and as he explains, when he was a teenager he "just wanted to kill people." In that one sentence we see clearly what we're producing as a society: A mindless, aimless generation easily picked up by the war machine and sent to fight in a land they know nothing about.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Disappointed. Didn't really finish the story. Was expecting so much more from the previous reviews. I have the utmost respect for all military personnel and their families, but I... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Erin B
First time I saw this docufilm was in 2012 Memorial day , I was in tears the whole time , also I purchased the sountrack, this was my first docufilm I watch and bought may 2012Published 14 months ago by Elizabeth Navarrete
I don't know what the he'll all the others are saying only if there honestly bag ain't the military but this si a awesome movie a and it's a really good onePublished 17 months ago by Jose Garcia
Well done picture. The subject is kind of hard to watch. Not for the faint of heart. The drug dependancy of this service man is sad and disheartingPublished 19 months ago by Edward Gregory