Hell and Back Again (2011)
Hell and Back Again received an Oscar nomination for best documentary for its portrayal of Sergeant Nathan Harris of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. The story begins in the United States with a pep talk full of war's bravado: "Make no mistake, we're experts in the application of violence… Your conscience should be clear… And believe me, Echo Company is gonna change history starting early tomorrow morning." The film then moves to Afghanistan and reveals these lies for what they are. It's shocking how the documentary draws us into the chaos, confusion, and futility of the war. The story then cuts back and forth from the war zone to the United States. Back at home, Harris struggles to recover from a bullet that shattered his hip. He has a rod from hip to knee, requires a walker or wheel chair, he pops pills of all sorts, his wife must dress him, and we're with him on visits to the psychiatrist, physical therapist, and orthopedist. And the Afghans we're liberating? "Our kids are petrified," laments a village elder, "they're starving, they have diarrhea from the river water, we can't plant our wheat, and 18 houses burned to the ground. We can't resist you or the Taliban. Please leave!"