Synopsis by Mark Deming
A soldier dealing with the painful consequences of war finds coming home isn't much of a consolation in this documentary. Filmmaker Danfung Dennis was embedded with a Marine platoon fighting in Afghanistan in 2009, where violence and street skirmishes could break out at any time. One of the soldiers Dennis followed was Nathan Harris, who was shot in the hip shortly before he was due to return home. Recuperating from a badly injured leg, Nathan soon found himself at home, being looked after by his wife, Ashley Harris, and struggling with boredom and feelings of powerlessness after months on edge. As his marriage begins to buckle and he becomes increasingly reliant on pain medication, Nathan is subject to severe mood swings and openly states he wishes he were back in Afghanistan, where at the very least he was in control of his circumstances and not dependent on others. Director Dennis offers a telling portrait of the horrors of the battlefield as well as the uncomfortable quiet of the home front. Hell and Back Again was an official selection at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Afghanistan, battlefield, Marines, recuperation, soldier