The Hornet's Nest

 (3,595)6.71 h 36 min2014X-RayR
The Hornet's Nest is a groundbreaking and immersive feature film, using unprecedented real footage to tell the story of an elite group of U. S. troops sent on a dangerous mission deep inside one of Afghanistan's most hostile valleys. What was planned as a single day strike turned into nine intense days of combat against an invisible, hostile enemy in terrain where troops had never dared go before.
Christian TureaudDavid Salzberg
Mike BoettcherCarlos Boettcher
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Gravitas Ventures
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Foul languagesmokingsubstance useviolence
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4.3 out of 5 stars

3595 global ratings

  1. 67% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 6% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 7% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Emily KlugaReviewed in the United States on November 24, 2017
2.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing Footage. Disappointing and Self-Absorbed Film.
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I wish I could give 2.5 stars because I have to give credit for the outstanding footage. It was beyond compelling and was also the only reason I lasted the entire documentary. I will also give Mike and Carlos Boettcher credit for risking their lives by embedding with these soldiers. But that's as much as I can say about that...

Overall, the narration seemed contrived and like an audition tape for a news reporter/anchor position. The title may be called "The Hornet's Nest" but maybe 30-35% of the movie is actually about the soldier's experience in the valley. And when I say 30-35% of it being the soldier's experience, I really mean 15-20% because the rest of the time was dedicated to Boettcher and his experience. A common theme I've seen in any critical review of the film is that Boettcher is too superfluous, almost self-indulgent in his narration and the way he navigates his time of Afghanistan.The first half of the film is dedicated to something completely personal and unrelated: Mike goes on about how he was a poor father who was never around while his kids were growing up and now this life-threatening trip to Afghanistan would be a great opportunity to reconnect with his son who has absolutely no combat experience. From that moment forward, every experience is tinted with Boettcher's personal stake in it - how the experience scared him/affected him, what he was thinking and feeling throughout enemy fire. Even when his son isn't around, it continues to be this self self-absorbed ego-trip for Boettcher who just seems to be coming to grips with the fact that he's aging and can't embed much longer. When tragedy strikes, all he really has to say about it is, "How do you process that... as a reporter with a camera?... you don't." That's just not what this film should have been about.

One incredibly insensitive and condescending moment stood out though. When Boettcher is explaining the actions taken by a particular soldier during a firefight, this is what he has to say, "In the middle of this battle, specialist Lindskog, this timid young man who you wouldn't expect would do anything heroic, runs through this hail of gunfire to try to save his fellow soldiers and another afghan soldier." I'm sorry but every man and woman who becomes a member of our military is heroic. Their job is to is to do the things you and I are not necessarily capable of doing, at the risk of their own life, for the protection of our entire country. That is brave. And that is heroic. Maybe Boettcher was just trying to frame the scene but, regardless, it was patronizing and incredibly crass.

The only reason I would suggest this film is to see and appreciate the footage for it's compelling, raw and captivating content. Otherwise, the story is a disappointing homage to a war correspondent-with-an-Achilles-Complex's career that is inching ever closer to retirement.
213 people found this helpful
BeakerReviewed in the United States on July 4, 2017
2.0 out of 5 stars
This is quite possibly the most outstanding conflict footage ever captured and then ruined...
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I am a former Infantryman/11B in the Army and a combat veteran of both major theaters in the Global War on Terror. The combat footage in this documentary made me physically, mentally, and emotionally uncomfortable, such is it's quality. So much to the point that I almost couldn't finish it. It is my opinion that with respect to the footage proper, this is utterly seminal, industry redefining work. A magnum opus befitting a combat correspondent so experienced. It should, without qualification, redefine what people think of when they hear the words "combat correspondence". That's all I have to say about that.

In light of this footage of immense quality, I find it... unfortunate that Mike Boettcher felt so compelled to attempt to dramatize this material. What I can only describe as Lifetime movie grade monologues about himself, his career, and his attempts at attempting to rekindle his waning relationship with his son completely ruin this film. I will not go so far as to declare this work disrespectful on his part as I have a very different view of the service than many. I will, however, say that it was completely unnecessary and very much detracted from the otherwise immensely compelling footage. You don't need to engage in creative editing about your son catching a round on a ridge side and dying, when people were actually dying, captured on footage so clear it had my heart rate over 100BPM sitting in a chair. There was no need to introduce your own drama, there was plenty to be had.

Mr. Boettcher is a war corespondent, and in his rush for fame he seems to have forgotten that. You are there to report on the war, not produce a creative melodrama with Afghani scenery and gun fire in the backdrop. It is because of these intertwining scenes of melodrama I am forced to remove three stars from what would have otherwise been a flawless and unbelievably realistic photo thesis on modern combat. This documentary could have been so much more, could have been so close to perfect. Instead, it was turned into a mediocre and unpalatable docudrama. If this film had been half the length due to the endless ramblings and reality TV grade false crisis being edited out, it would have been a five star production. As it is now, I personaly find it a waste of the finest combat footage to ever emerge.
677 people found this helpful
joeReviewed in the United States on February 13, 2017
1.0 out of 5 stars
Good Lord - Mike Boettcher check your ego
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Good Lord - Mike Boettcher check your ego. This is a documentary chronicling the life and times of a narcissist when it should have been about the soldiers. Worst documentary I've ever seen.
119 people found this helpful
Sydney RadcliffeReviewed in the United States on January 26, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Don't let the synopsis and trailers mislead you
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What was hoped to be an immersive dive into combat faced by U.S. troops was nothing more than Mike Boettcher stroking his own ego for an hour and thirty-six minutes. However impressive the man and his son's accolades may have been, this film appeared to be about the troops and the struggles of combat action in Afghanistan. Every trailer and even the synopsis leads you to believe that. If this was marketed as a story about a veteran combat journalist and his story of bringing his son along with him during a tour in Afghanistan, I probably never would've watched this in the first place.
If you were looking for a documentary that focuses on life on the front line for U.S. troops and not the journalists capturing the video, watch Restrepo and then Korengal.
68 people found this helpful
CWReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Unexpected emotions and insight
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I also have to say this was probably the best documentary I have watched in a very long time. If you ever want to truly see and feel what our soldiers go through, I cannot think of a better option than this one. Mike Boettcher and his son Carlos have done an outstanding job. Up close and personal, you get to feel these soldiers are your care about feel what they feel..........and you come away SO thankful that there are those who volunteer to keep us safe. You also realize the sacrifice each soldier and embedded reporters suffers when choosing to serve our country in this way. I've seen first hand the grief family's suffer when their loved ones are off to war, but then I see the bonding and sense of duty the soldiers feel while deployed. Highly recommend this for your viewing pleasure.
27 people found this helpful
Andrew ChattonReviewed in the United States on May 7, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Primary Objective: Egotistical Journalists 101
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This movie is not about our heroic soldiers fighting. Its all about the journalist and his son and they just so happen to find a war to cover together. I give plenty of credit to all the warriors who had to bring these two jerks with them into the field each mission. Could not stand another minute of the arrogant egotistical reporting. It even included retakes of some of the camera work. If you want a real movie with real soldiers and unstaged documentary during live fighting, this movie is not for you. Better off watching Citizen Soldiers for the real story of bravery and casualties.
27 people found this helpful
XavierReviewed in the United States on February 11, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Great footage ruined by self absorbed rambling.
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Honestly, Boettcher could have made this documentary infinitely better by just not talking. He and his son try their best to inject fabricated melodrama into a very sensitive and eye-opening experience. The end result is a mediocre documentary ruined by some unfocused ramblings on Boettcher's career, family, and his inflated sense of self-importance.
18 people found this helpful
Daniel T. MarkertReviewed in the United States on January 23, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Ground View of Infantry Combat in Afghanistan
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Well done documentary of infantry combat in Afghanistan. Particularly enjoyed the coverage of Strong Eagle III in Kunar in March 2011. I was advising the ANA at FOB Gamberi at the time and tracked the whole battle from our operations center there. The one thing lacking from first person embedded documentaries like this is the context of the bigger picture. I had travelled with my ANA up and down the Kunar River Valley and into Nuristan over the year that I was there, so when I watch this embedded video story, I am placing the viewpoints and actions in the context of the whole picture I observed at the operational level. I think it is more difficult to appreciate the fullness of what Task Force "No Slack" was going through just from the "Hornet's Nest". They had fought significant battles in Pech Valley and Watapur earlier in Operations Strong Eagle 1 and 2 and Operation Bulldog Bite.
24 people found this helpful
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