More than merely a sports documentary or an inspirational profile of triumph over adversity, Murderball offers a refreshing and progressive attitude toward disability while telling unforgettable stories about uniquely admirable people. It's ostensibly a film about quadriplegic rugby (or "Murderball," as it was formerly known), in which players with at least some loss of physical function in all four limbs navigate modified wheelchairs in a hardcore, full-contact sport that takes them all the way to the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004. But as we get to know paralyzed or amputee players on Team USA like Andy Cohn, Scott Hogsett, Bob Lujano and charismatic team spokesman Mark Zupan, we come to understand that quad rugby is a saving grace for these determined competitors, who battle Team Canada coach (and former Team USA superstar) Joe Soares en route to the climactic contest in Athens. Simply put, Murderball is the best film to date about living with a severe disability, but codirectors Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro avoid the sappy, inspirational sentiment that hampers nearly all mainstream films involving disability. By the time this blazing 85-minute film reaches its emotional conclusion, the issue of disability is almost irrelevant; these guys are as normal as anyone, and their life stories led to Murderball becoming the most critically acclaimed documentary of 2005. --Jeff Shannon
Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro's MURDERBALL is an inspiring documentary, which proves that physical limitations are no match for the human spirit. For the determined quadriplegic men who participate in the dangerous sport of "quad rugby," it's more than just a game: it's a chance to prove themselves in a much bigger way. With armored wheelchairs and enough macho energy to overcome any challenge, the players engage in a violently physical game. The charming but intimidating Mark Zupan was angry and suicidal after a car accident relegated him to a wheelchair. He regained his confidence and spirit by becoming both a player and the spokesman for quad rugby's Team USA. Zupan's militaresque rival, Joe Soares, is a former star for Team USA who headed north to coach Team Canada when he was cut from the US team in 2000. Concentrating on the buildup to the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, the film introduces other awe-striking figures--young men who have risen to the challenge of the game time and time again. As the days build to the inevitable showdown between Team USA and Team Canada, Rubin and Shapiro fill the screen with story after story, prodding the audience to swallow their own individual stereotypes and appreciate the efforts of these extraordinary men. The magic of MURDERBALL is that it never feels preachy. Rather, it entertains as much as it enlightens.
Mooviees.com is not the official site for this film.
All editorial views and opinions expressed here are for entertainment purposes only.