What does it mean to lead men in war? What does it mean to come home? Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary film that asks and answers these questions with a power and ... See full summary »
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What does it mean to lead men in war? What does it mean to come home? Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary film that asks and answers these questions with a power and intimacy no previous film about the conflict in Afghanistan has been able to achieve. It is a masterpiece in the cinema of war. Written by
Despite an establishing shot of the exterior of a Walgreens pharmacy, the scene where Nathan's wife purchases his prescriptions is clearly filmed inside a CVS pharmacy, as seen on the cashier's name tag. See more »
A compelling portrayal of the reality of soldiers and their families.
Three generations of my family have served their country, with members in almost every branch of the United States Armed Forces. While I decided not to follow in the footsteps of aunts, uncles, cousins, or even my parents, my baby brother did. The day after Katrina hit New Orleans he enlisted in the Marine Corp. It was his unit that was filmed for this documentary.
These men are not actors, they are not trying to "play it up" for the camera and any insinuations to the contrary are beyond offensive. These are trained soldiers who sign their lives away to the government for years at a time, some in hopes of earning school funds, and others a career. Their main worries are to do as commanded, and stay alive long enough to be able to reach their end goals. I watched this documentary with my eyes wide open, with the personal knowledge of how these events changed someone I love.
The beauty of Hell and Back Again is that it allows the rest of the world to see what soldiers and their families live with. We send our soldiers off knowing that at best they will be forever psychologically scarred and at worst we receive that dreaded knock on the door. When they do return we have to help them adjust back to their "normal" lives. So even though Sgt. Harris is the focus, this really is the story of every soldier who has been in a combat zone.
I hope that this film helps people understand that even though many have life altering physical injuries, the hardest part for most will be the life-long mental battle. Only through the genius of editing that follows the emotional path rather than the chronological, can we see those highs and lows with such intensity.
In the end I can only repeat what I told my brother after I saw this film. It allowed me to understand him better, not only as a soldier, but as a changed man. And even though he is still a pain in the rear, I am glad that he made it home alive, issues and all.
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