Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2005. Paramount Pictures, MTV Films, Participant Media, A&E IndieFilms, EAT Films. Cinematography by Henry Alex Rubin. Produced by Jeffrey V. Mandel, Dana Adam Shapiro. Music by Jamie Saft. Film Editing by Conor O’Neill, Geoffrey Richman. Academy Awards 2005. Boston Film Critics Awards 2005. National Board of Review Awards 2005. Online Film Critics Awards 2005.
Excellent documentary about the US Paralympic team of rugby players, whose version of the game, adapted for quadriplegics, has been affectionately given the label of Murderball. The filmmakers interview players on the team, who all relate their experiences of how they ended up in their physical situations (most of the young men survived serious accidents) and how they’ve been able to put their lives back together through their devotion to this sport. Strong personalities and richly satisfying lives dominate this film, which tells a different story about the physically challenged than most sappy movies-of-the-week would have you believe are possible. The game scenes are riveting, while the glimpses into some of these players’ personal lives are alternately emotional (Mark Zupan making up with the friend whose driving resulted in his injury), hilarious (the first things the boy are told to do in rehab is masturbate, to see if they can still get it up) and disturbing (gung-ho Canada team coach Joe Soares‘ parenting skills would make a rock cry).