Director: Danfung Dennis
Summary: In 2009, U.S. Marines launched a major helicopter assault on a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. Immediately upon landing, the marines were surrounded by insurgents and attacked from all sides. Embedded in Echo Company, filmmaker Danfung Dennis captures the action with visceral immediacy. As he reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris, Dennis’s film evolves from being a war exposé to becoming a story of one man’s personal apocalypse. From the bloody battlefields of Afghanistan, to his home in North Carolina, Harris struggles to conquer the physical and mental fallout of war. A shell of the man he once was, will Harris ever return to the happy life he shared with his loving wife, Ashley?
Contrasting the horrors of the battlefield with the battle back home, Hell and Back Again is a transcendent film that comes full circle as it lays bare the true cost of war.
Excitement Scale (1-10): 7 – At this point, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been covered Ad nauseam. Dennis film sounds like a combination of Restrepo and War Tapes, but will it succeed as those did or continue to beat the drum most audience are tired of hearing? A Grand Jury Prize is a good sign.