We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

James Orbinski is a Nobel Prize-winning doctor who worked in Somalia and Rwanda in the ’90s during periods of intense combat and genocide. Patrick Reed’s film captures Orbinski as he returns to these haunting places as he’s writing a memoir, and the film sometimes seems like an extended promotion for his forthcoming book. But it’s also the story of a veteran doctor who’s still grappling to understand what he went through years ago and, more important, what he can learn from it. The movie discusses the dilemma facing humanitarian groups working in refugee camps run by Rwandan “genocidaires.” But it mostly focuses closely on Orbinski, who seems simultaneously self-aware and overcome—by his life, by his experiences, and by his good fortune of still being alive. At one point, the movie shows the doctor near a building where he rescued a little girl and her dying mother, and brought them back to his hospital as pursuers fired upon their vehicle. “The challenge of writing is how do you capture what has no words,” he says. “Because in the expression, you lose it.” The end of the movie presents no easy answers but plenty of tormenting questions. —RS