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Review: ‘Last Patrol’ covers the inner journey home after war

‘The Last Patrol’
A scene from the documentary “The Last Patrol.”
(Guillermo Cervera / HBO)

Sebastian Junger can’t seem to get war ‘out of his system.

With his new, highly personal documentary, “The Last Patrol,” it appears the filmmaker-journalist behind the Oscar-nominated Afghanistan War documentary “Restrepo” would be the first to agree.

Junger’s latest is partly a tribute to “Restrepo” co-director Tim Hetherington, who was killed two years ago while covering the civil war in Libya. “The Last Patrol” takes place on the home front, where Junger and three other vets hike from Washington, D.C., to Pennsylvania, letting railroad tracks be their guide.

Along the way, Junger and the guys bond over women and issues with their fathers, but mainly they connect over the challenges they’ve faced reentering society after extended periods on the front lines. The quartet becomes a trio when the youngest of the group opts to return to Afghanistan.

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Unlike the visceral “Restrepo,” in which Junger was embedded with a platoon of American combat soldiers for more than a year, the greatest peril posed on this particular mission is being spotted by Amtrak cops.

Although the reflective trek has much to say about alienation, national pride and notions of machismo, the journey taken by Junger and company was likely more rewarding for the participants than it will be for audiences.

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“The Last Patrol.”

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MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle’s Town Center 5, Encino.


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