With a title that is a definite attention grabber, Hell and Back Again, directed by Danfung Dennis, starts off with an extra-large bang. You get trapped in the amazing camera work with Dennis’s use of his custom camera system, Condition ONE, which makes you feel as if you are in the middle of a war game. The only problem that persists as the story develops is that you lose the focus of the film somewhat.

An amazing photo-journey with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris, an amazing subject and perfect protagonist for the story. The film transitions effortlessly from stunning war reporting and camerawork to an intimate, visceral portrait of Nathan’s personal struggle upon returning to his home in North Carolina.

At home he confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to not only civilian life but to a life of being crippled in battle. He is in a battle for survival and must fight to gain everything he’s lost. On the positive side, he has the love and support of his wife, Ashley, who truly deserves a medal for dealing with all of the turmoil she must handle on a daily basis. Dennis’ story truly and effectively paints the picture that war doesn’t only affect those serving but their loved ones as well. The director masterfully contrasts the intensity of the frontline of war and the heat of battle formations with the unsettling normalcy of home.

Hell and Back Again lays down the true cost of war and how much it can affect the community, not just those who are serving our country. You get pulled in with simultaneous sympathizing and admiration for both Nathan and Ashley. You feel sorry for a war hero who has served his country proudly and is now confined to never being able to walk normally ever again and his young wife who must put her life on hold because she is all that Nathan has left. Hell and Back Again is a film that makes you truly ask the question: War, what is it good for?

Hell and Back Again releases in select theaters Oct. 14.