Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Critical Consensus: War Doc "Hell and Back Again" Is The Pick of the Week

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire October 5, 2011 at 5:34AM

Coming off an acclaimed run on the festival circuit, Danfung Dennis's war doc "Hell and Back Again" is hitting theaters today via Docurama Films, and it's the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.
0

Coming off an acclaimed run on the festival circuit, Danfung Dennis's war doc "Hell and Back Again" is hitting theaters today via Docurama Films, and it's the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.

One of the most acclaimed docs to come out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival (and winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Cinematography in its world doc competition), Danfung Dennis' directorial debut chronicles the life of an injured Marine returning home from Afghanistan to his wife and everyday life. Six critics gave it an average of A- on the film's criticWIRE page. indieWIRE's own Eric Kohn gave the film a A-, calling it the "year's best war film" his review:

There have been plenty of combat documentaries over the last 10 years, but photojournalist Danfung Dennis' "Hell and Back Again" adopts an original conceit. Dennis follows Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris, a gruff 25-year-old who was stationed in Afghanistan, during two seminal moments in his life. During an assault on a Taliban stronghold, Harris received a bullet wound in his rear that prematurely sent him home. Back in North Carolina with his wife, temporarily unable to walk and unsure of his military future, Harris drifts through his mundane life dealing with echoes of the past. Rather than letting his subject attempt to explain the trauma, Dennis shows it, repeatedly cutting between the two periods. The events speak for themselves.

"Hell" topped a busy slate of films opening this weekend, including George Clooney's political drama "The Ides of March," Abe Sylvia's teen comedy "Dirty Girl," Martin Sheen's "The Way" and Tom Six's anticipated (though that depends on who you ask) sequel "Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence." More extensive takes on the films opening this weekend are all are linked below. Also offered is the top 10 criticWIRE scores for films already in theaters, which is currently topped by doc "The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu" for the third week running, Note that only films with three or more grades have their averages included.

iW Film Calendar & criticWIRE:
criticWIRE | Opening this week | Opening this month | All Films A - Z

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week
NOTE: The averages listed here are current as of the publishing of this article. They are subject to change as new grades come in, and will be updated in next week's edition of this article.

Hell and Back Again (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

The Swell Season (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Ides of March (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

The Way (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Dirty Girl (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C

Blackthorn (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD

Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD

Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD

The Women on the 6th Floorr (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD


criticWIRE: 10 Best Bets Already In Theaters

1. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

2. Senna (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

3. We Were Here (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

4. The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

5. Drive (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

6. Weekend (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

7. Take Shelter (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

8. 50/50 (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

9. Moneyball (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

10. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

This article is related to: In Theaters






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More