Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hell and Back Again

Unlike most war docs, which tend to only skim the surface of its gun-toting subjects' lives, photojournalist Danfung Dennis's “Hell and Back Again” isn't content to merely capture warriors in combat. He follows an injured Sgt. Nathan Harris all the way from Afghanistan to his home in North Carolina, where his wife and high school sweetheart Ashley is helping to reconstruct their former lives. From its high-adrenaline opening of Echo Company preparing to take a Taliban stronghold before they're ambushed and lose a man, which segues to footage of the unit's homecoming, the documentary smartly shuttles between the sergeant in the heat of battle and his tackling of daily mundane tasks. Refreshingly, Dennis is less concerned with questions of morality than he is in pondering how a person can mentally take the leap from making life and death choices for himself and the men under him to deciding where to park the car at Wal-Mart.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

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