Chap­lain shows sol­diers’ sac­ri­fices

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Kim­ber My­ers

There’s an in­escapable sense of im­me­di­acy and real risk within “No Greater Love.” Di­rected by U.S. Army Chap­lain Justin David Roberts while he was on ac­tive duty in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, this doc­u­men­tary gives view­ers an in­ti­mate look at the life of sol­diers, cap­tur­ing the dan­gers present both at war and at home.

As chap­lain, Roberts couldn’t carry a weapon when he was de­ployed with the leg­endary 101st Air­borne Di­vi­sion, so he doc­u­mented his bat­tal­ion’s ex­pe­ri­ences with a cam­era. He cap­tures ar­rest­ing footage of at­tacks by in­sur­gents, as well as qui­eter mo­ments with his fel­low sol­diers. In ad­di­tion to the video from Afghanistan, Roberts also in­cludes in­ter­views with the men af­ter they’ve re­turned home, where post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der is as sig­nif­i­cant a threat as the bul­lets and bombs were on the field of bat­tle.

Roberts’ doc­u­men­tary ex­ists beyond pol­i­tics and beyond re­li­gion, de­vot­ing its en­ergy to story af­ter story of brav­ery.

The film isn’t al­ways as tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient as the au­di­ence might want it to be — es­pe­cially its some­times dis­tract­ing edit­ing — but it’s both ef­fec­tive and af­fect­ing in its emo­tion­ally raw nar­ra­tive.

In the mo­ment and years later, these men re­veal war’s im­pact on them­selves and their fam­i­lies, and it’s a tes­ta­ment to their char­ac­ter. “No Greater Love” may leave view­ers wrecked, but they’ll emerge with added re­spect and grat­i­tude for the sol­diers’ sac­ri­fices.

“No Greater Love.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 34 min­utes. Play­ing: Art The­atre, Long Beach.

At­las Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany

DAN­GERS on the bat­tle­field and at home are doc­u­mented in the af­fect­ing film by a U.S. Army chap­lain.

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