Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PBS Independent Lens looks at return of wounded Marine, "Hell and Back Again"

The PBS Independent Lens film “Hell and Back Again”, directed by Danfung Dennis, documents the life of a Marine, SGT Nathan Harris, who is severely wounded in the hip and thigh before the end of his deployment in Afghanistan.  The filmmaker traced his life back home in North Carolina with wife Ashley.

The narrative style of the film switches back and forth between his gradual healing at home and the backstories of the action during his deployments (there were three of them).

There’s a discussion of why he wanted to join the Marine Corps, that is to be a “cowboy”, to be a warrior.  The rest of us depend too much on people willing and wanting to do this.  But he has to get home to his wife. But he says at 26 he has grown up from when he was 18.

There’s a medical session, showing the healing thigh, where the doctor says it will be a year before he can go back to “killing people”.  He says that he will never get back to 100%, and that a grunt is all he ever had wanted to be.  Amazing!

The flatland infiltration episode near the end of the film does invoke the mood of “Hurt Locker”. The battlefield tears are hard to take.

The film won awards at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Jeffrey Brown interviews Mr. Dennis at this link supplied by PBS.

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