Hell and Back Again Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2012
Hell and Back Again is a pretty average documentary that is beautifully shot, uniquely edited, but should've delved into the psychological state of mind of Sgt. Nathan Harris instead of focusing on merely the physical struggles he faces in getting back into shape and fit for combat once more. The emotional connection could definitely been stronger and more involving. Hell and Back Again features unique cinematography and editing, but is a generic, if slightly better than average documentary.
axadntpron
Super Reviewer
½ May 29, 2012
A stirring documentary that looks at the long hard road that many ex-marines have to walk when assimilating back into civilian life. It follows the plight of Nathan Harris, who after being severely wounded in battle, must plunge head first into a new battle at home.
It has one of the most stirring opening montages I have ever seen in a documentary. It only lasts about 6 seconds, but it brilliantly sets up the rest of the film. Sadly, the film doesn't live up to the promise of the opening, but is still an important look at the modern veteran.
The filmmakers use sound to great effect, layering the sounds of combat over the minutiae of every day life. Showing that even though a soldier may leave the battle, the battle never leaves the soldier.
Also, and much more subtly, Harris is shown being escorted by his wife through a maze of shopping malls, fast-food restaurants, and packed parking lots. Harris is visibly frustrated by this way of life that appears more emotionally taxing than the front lines. Begging the question, what exactly are we fighting for over there?
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2012
A rather average documentary, at least to me anyways but most critics are giving it rave reviews. I thought that the look and editing was pretty unique for a documentary and made it flow much more effectively then most other documentaries that tend to drag on in real time. The constant flashbacks, that also utilizes a sound dropout, to Sgt. Nathan Harris during his experience at war and then cutting back to everyday life at home during his recovery provide a great contrast. The film gets a little repetitive and never really delves into Sgt. Harris' psychological state of mind or his internal struggle so much as his physical battle to recover from his wounds. All in all, a decent documentary about the struggles of everyday life for our soldiers coming back from war and an interesting watch.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2012
Much like Restrepo of 2010, Hell And Back Again gives a glimpse into the life of a soldier, both during active duty and through recovery of injury and post-traumatic stress. With some bloody imagery, including the witness to the aftermath of a graphic fatality, this is, for better or worse, an unforgettable film.
½ February 24, 2012
For what it was, this was an excellent film. Definitely deserved to be a Best Documentary nominee. I would not mind seeing it win on Sunday.
½ January 26, 2012
Up for best documentary. A upsetting, amazing and disturbing look at what a soldier goes through. Must see!
February 23, 2015
Very deep and eye opening documentary about not only a life changed but a marriage changed by an injury in war. Amazing raw footage as well as aftermath after returning home and beginning the healing process. You really feel the pain he's going through. Makes you think about how many lives are affected by the war and how sad it is. Especially for the people caught in the middle. Wow. Sobering.
April 5, 2014
Strong and stark, Hell and Back Again won't let war fade to black as Sft. Nathan Harris returns to the States from Afghanistan. The interweaving of battlefield and home-front dramas as well as the tedium of both lives brings war into a sharper focus than their more cinematic stereotypes.
Jwv
½ January 3, 2014
The documentary starts off with a thought provoking contrast. We land in the middle of a deadly Afghan war scene, only to see the marines' family reunion in America shortly after. This contrast suggests the frightful incompatibility of these scenes, and hints at the question of how the marines cope with this.

During the story of Nathan back home, our point of view shifts from time to time to the Afghan war scene. These suggest the flashbacks that Nathan experiences.

Ironic scenes from Nathan playing Call of Duty confront the viewer with the barbarity it is of reducing war to an enjoyable video game.

The strongest moment in the film features one of Obama's speeches touching on the Afghan war. The film suggests the ridiculousness, emptiness and idiocy of Obama's idealized speeches about war, and subtly subverts it when a wounded and indifferent Nathan comments: "Well, Afgan people aren't watching."

This film suggests that even physically unharmed marines come home profoundly wounded, be it emotional. Nathan's neurotic and unpredictable behaviour makes us question what injury cuts deeper, the physical or the emotional.
July 21, 2013
Documentary is well filmed but puts USA marine in really bad way
½ July 2, 2013
This documentary was just ok to me. The camera goes back and forth between the soldier's experience and then his experience at home. At home it shows his physical disability challenges, and in Afghanistan, his day to day challenges fighting the Talabon. Very sad documentary. Dark.
May 21, 2013
Fantastic! you can feel the energy of war and how it affects injured grunts coming home
May 14, 2013
Hell and Back Again brings the war home in ... More
January 30, 2013
War documentaries don't get much more personal than this.
December 28, 2012
Decent documentary, but not very revealing.
December 2, 2012
A big tear jerking doc with a very good message about our troops.
November 19, 2012
A very well-filmed strong documentary about the horror of war and also the horror that follows the people involve on it even after returning home.
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2012
Hell and Back Again is a pretty average documentary that is beautifully shot, uniquely edited, but should've delved into the psychological state of mind of Sgt. Nathan Harris instead of focusing on merely the physical struggles he faces in getting back into shape and fit for combat once more. The emotional connection could definitely been stronger and more involving. Hell and Back Again features unique cinematography and editing, but is a generic, if slightly better than average documentary.
November 1, 2012
I am a disabled vet and when i watched i felt it deep inside of me
October 24, 2012
awesome.... i was in the US ARMY 1982-88 and then Natl guard 1988-2002... i We Fortunate to have never went to War... 1 came within 6 hours in 1991 of shipping to IRAQ... I since have had many friends o to IRAQ.. Most came back.. This Movie is what its About and Our men and Woman Deserve the BEST and Utmost Respect...
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