Why would a civilian war correspondent risk life and limb to send home pictorial confirmation of government-sanctioned brutality? David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud’s harrowing documentary The Hornet’s Nest answers the question. Mike Boettcher’s 34 years of dedication to his job as network correspondent helped earn him enough Absentee Father of the Year trophies to bridge three mantelpieces. In the tradition of John Ford, Mike’s grown son, Carlos - born with a confidence he “had not yet earned” - needed to know why his father chose career over family. Not since Gunner Palace has a war documentary brought the viewer this close to a world where it’s strange for a few hours to pass without a bullet whizzing by or an IED going off. With unprecedented real footage to guide us, the filmmakers propel their audience into hostile territory for 93 minutes. Not unlike our on-screen counterparts, we never know where the next shot will come from or whom it might hit. (2014) — Scott Marks
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