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I am a person in a wheelchair as well in a small country of the world.
It was quite difficult to find a cinema, where I could finally watch it
with my mom. It was a great experience. I found it very useful. I
really do think that all person in a wheelchair should see this film
once. It helps to process the fact of an accident and live together
with it in a normal way.
It also shows great examples of strong, life-affirmation, courage, wisdom and at the same time presents the reality of a handicapped life. I liked the way guys were talking about sex and it was good to see that they found partners even though their state. I also appreciated that the film showed a boy with a fresh motor-accident (Keith Cavill), who had just left the rehabilitation and could not find his place and happiness in his new home. Therefore we could see more stages of "accepting an accident".
Still, what I have also experienced, that it is easier for men (boy) to be wheel-chaired than for women (girls). As we could see from the film, most of the boys have chosen healthy girls for their partners, and they referred to the fact that girls like to take care of them. It works different in the case of girls.
And what is very important: sport is something which heals even very sad lives. It gives aim, happiness and meaning for either a healthy person or for somebody with a missing body part.
I would like to recommend this film to everyone who is interested in a different way of life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Murderball" is what they used to call the sport when it was first
created decades ago. Now it's referred to as quadriplegic rugby. It's
easy to see how it got its original name though, as the players ram
into each other with their souped up wheelchairs, throwing their
opponents face first onto the court floor, hurling obscenities at each
other the whole time.
This film follows the lives of a group of (mostly) young men who comprise the US quadriplegic rugby team, and their voyage to the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. Not to be confused with the Special Olympics, as one of the men points out in the film! These guys are rough, tough athletes who are eager to prove their skills to team Canada due to a bit of a rivalry. The coach for the Canadian team was a star on the US team for years, who moved up north to coach after a bitter legal battle following his cut from the team.
It's truly a great documentary, as viewers are thrown into these men's lives, their dreams, and the amazing recoveries from the accidents and conditions that left them in a wheelchair. Not at all the traditional woe-is-me flick (a la Million Dollar Baby), this film details the triumphs and trivialities of their every day lives as Olympic athletes - who just so happen to be paralyzed.
I saw this documentary at the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck,
Michigan. It's a terrific film about quadriplegic athletes and their
experience in quad rugby, aka Murderball. Directed by Henry- Alex Rubin
and Dana Adam Shapiro, it was a lot of fun.
Yes, the games are intense, a lot of fun, and shows their courage, but the film isn't just about the tournament, it follows some of the individuals and their stories. Mark Zupan tells the tale of how he became paralyzed and it results in some touching moments throughout the film involving him and his friend. The film also follows Joe Soares, one of the best of the sport, he was cut from the USA team so he heads to Canada to be head coach. It's amazing to see his dedication to both the game and his family.
My personal favorite moment in the film involves one recent quadriplegic who struggles to adapt to his new style of life. It's difficult to watch some of these scenes, but with the dramatic scenes are some very uplifting moments.
This is a great film, I loved they way it was told. I cared for the people, I was really into the games, and they are great to watch. Check this movie out if you can, it's very inspiring.
Great movie, and all involved deserve all the awards that I know are
coming your way!
As an ex-murderball player of 18 years, I got to see, first hand, how this sport developed and grew internationally, along with those who play, in this huge adrenaline rush of a sport!
This movie provided me with flashbacks to how much I enjoyed playing "murderball" when I first started playing back in 1980 back when we used 55-pound hospital-style wheelchairs and steel-toed work boots to protect our feet!
This sport not only has an awesome set of athletes, but the friends and camaraderie that all develop by playing this true contact sport makes it all worthwhile. It also makes them realize that they all have the potential to go beyond their everyday abilities.
Greets to all you court rats out there and don't let anyone push you, push your freakin' chair and hit 'em if they get in your way... :)
"Murderball" was the best documentary I viewed at the recent 2005
Sundance Film Festival. It won the audience award, which is what really
counts as opposed to the bogus grand jury prize award (which went to
"Why We Fight" - a leftist film).
"Murderball" does an amazing job of juxtaposing scenes of the quadriplegic rugby players documenting their familial environments and dealing with their personal demons, with the fast-paced, adrenaline-packed scenes of rugby. You'd have to be a robot to not be touched by the heartfelt and poignant stories - such as that of the intense Jeff Zupan (who was rendered a quad because at the age of 16 he passed out in his buddys flatbed drunk, and then his buddy went out dwi and crashed, flinging Zupan's body 60 ft. into a nearby stream, where he hung onto a tree branch for 13 hours before help arrived on the scene). The scenes of the abrasive Joe Soares are also great - documenting his family dynamic and his relationship with his bright, effeminate son.
Also included are a series of animation sequences that amazingly capture the character's dreams of flight (with all their limbs).
However, my personal favorite scenes are the rugby sequences, in particular the heated rivalry documented between Team USA and Team Canada. Joe Soares, a former quad-rugby legend for USA, was shunned at a tryout in '96, didn't make the team, and in a brazen act of defiance went to coach Team Canada against the Americans at the quad-Olympics, knowing all their plays. This compelling scenario sets the stage for one of the best documentaries you'll ever see - a triumph of the heart, and human spirit - truly inspirational.
Having seen one of the most brilliant documentaries several years ago
called Hoop Dreams, I though there could be nothing that could even
come close to its raw passion and emotional power. After witnessing
Murderball, I realized I was wrong.
This documentary that follows a select group of quadriplegic athletes provides just the perfect amount of tension and joy, as witnessing the former trials of Arthur Agee, and William Gates and family in Chicago.
Some background is given on the sport as to how it's played (no less ironically on a basketball court), but Murderball's greatest asset is the depth in which it probes the players backgrounds and challenges, and our understanding of what it means to be in a chair (more than likely) the rest of your life.
Like Hoop Dreams, it isn't the games or the run up to the championship that becomes the most exciting part (as great as that may be), but is found in the little moments when a father makes an effort to be at his sons recital, an old friend comes to watch his buddy at the paralympics in Greece, a recent quadriplegic first gets into a "mad chair" for the first time, or a group of players confront a former coach and mention his "treasonous" grounds. It is the access the filmmakers have gotten to not just film games, but to be at the right place at the right time in these players lives. That is what separates a brilliant documentary from just a good one, also the filmmakers and distributors have believed in this film, and it contains some very slick production work to boot.
In the end, the audience for the most part who will be watching this as able bodied people, will come out with a sense of glowing pride for these athletes who play this crazy (perhaps) insane sport. This movie more than anything is about EMPOWERMENT, and the drive that succeeds in us all. When you watch these people in action you suddenly even begin to question how much you shouldn't complain about the everyday nuisances compared to what these players deal with on a regular basis.
It breaks down the barriers we people have towards individuals in wheelchairs to realize, that you know these people aren't always reflecting on what happened in their life as a lost chance, that they are okay, and more importantly you know what.. some of them may dam well be real jerks, but you know what.. that's okay too. But by golly, don't you dare even feel for sorry for them, just be glad that if you have a Zupan, Bob Lujano, or an Andy Cohn in your corner you may just have one of the coolest friends on the planet, and be a lucky person indeed. Cause for the most part they probably stand taller than you in every way.
Rating 9 out of 10
This was a terrific documentary about the sport of Quad Rugby - Murderball, as it is unofficially known - that is, quadriplegic athletes in tank-like wheelchairs, kicking ass and taking names. The film doesn't show them as saints, just as real people with real stories and almost all fed up with society patronizing them. Ultimately the film packs a real emotional punch and will likely get you wanting to know more about many of the people you meet here and what happens to them after the credits roll. It may even inspire you to watch this sport live if you get a chance to do so or at least follow it. I hope this film gets the release it deserves as I think it has serious breakout potential. Based on its' award at the Sundance Festival in 2005, positive word of mouth could be considerable. 9/10
I just got back from the screening at the SXSW festival and I want to
enthusiastically add my praise. If you have a chance to see this doc,
do it. The creators have done a remarkable job in storytelling and
capturing the personality and spirit of the athletes. It is very human,
genuinely funny, and emotional ride. The well integrated animations and
appropriate soundtrack give a nice polish to this outstanding
The documentary also has the real potential to do good, because it will help transform viewers perceptions of people in wheelchairs. Just see it.
This recent documentary about quadrapalegics playing a violent form of
rugby never found its expected audience. It was expected to be a
breakout hit of last summer and was even released under the MTV Films
label. It was eclipsed by last summer's surprise hit doc "March of the
Penguins." Is it any good? The scenes in which we follow the players in
their day to day lives are great. One portion of the film follows a
recently paralyzed motorcross racer and his excitement in discovering
the sport. These moments are touching, inspiring, and the doc's best
The sport, though, is either filmed poorly by the directors or its just not that exciting. These moments are reminiscent of Oliver Stone's football scenes in "Any Given Sunday"--I can see a lot of bodies of banging together, but don't ask me what the heck is going on. It appears that who ever has possession of the ball is likely to score meaning that winning the game comes down to having the ball in the closing seconds.
As a sports doc, it falls short. It greatly succeeds, though, in exploring the lives of the athletes.
Read more at http://solipsisticblog.blogspot.com/.
Murderball is a sport otherwise known as Wheelchair / Quad Rugby.
Played by quadriplegics, it is a 4 on 4 rugby game on wheels, which
requires plenty of strength, speed, and that armoured wheelchair which
almost doubles as a kind of bumper car as the sportsmen battle it out
for supremacy on a regular basketball court.
This documentary showcases the game from both the points of view of Team USA and Team Canada, highlighting the intense rivalry between them, with Team Canada inheriting a disgruntled ex-Team USA star player Joe Soares, who's now their head coach. Naturally when you have someone who knows your team strategy and know it inside out, is a cause for concern, as Team USA seeks to continue its winning streak, with new star player Mark Zupan in its fold.
But it's not just about the game, or just the preparation for the Paralympic Games in Athens 2004. In its compact 85 minutes, we get introduced to the key players like Zupan, and go behind the scenes to see what makes them tick, as well as their backstories on how they have become confined to a wheelchair. Not everyone is born without limbs, and for most, it's usually an accident, or a disease. Family ties are given equally adequate screen time, as support for these folks, as do any other sporting professional, is as important, especially after facing a huge loss while representing the country.
It's a bit hilarious as they account for the stares and innocent requests of help extended to by strangers, and you've got to salute these guys' strength, independence and confidence that comes with the sport. Besides the game, they do go around the country to inspire others who have recently suffered the same predicament of being in a wheelchair, to advise that it's not a lost cause.
And while they reminisce about how they had to adjust to their condition, I suppose the common question they all had was, does their woody still work. And surprisingly, it's this curiosity amongst chicks that actually assist them in snagging them, ha! But light hearted moments aside, it's almost always never easy in picking life back up again, as everyone harbours the dream that one day, they will walk again.
For those who have followed the team's exploits in the previous Athens Olympic Games, will already know the outcome of the game. Done in MTV styled quick cuts with adrenaline pumping music, the games shown in the documentary don't bore. But as the cliché goes, it's never about the destination, but about the journey. Best wishes to all the athletes competing in Beijing 2008!
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