Sunday, July 31, 2005

Murderball (2005)

"Everybody glint your wheels and blind them all!"

Genre: Sport Documentary

Starring: Mark Zupan, Joe Soares

Directed By: Henry Alex Ruben, Dana Adam Shapiro

Overview: This is the documentary of the rivalry between the Canadian and American quadriplegic Wheelchair Rugby teams who eventually compete for Gold in the 2004 Paralmpics in Athens.

Acting: The unscripted and natural portrayal by these people is astounding. It's like they have no idea there's a camera in front of them. The only person who seems to make any play for the camera is the Canadian Coach's son, and he can walk. The characters here are given just enough focus. It's like the director knew that the Canadian coach and the American Zupan, and of course that 4 month new quad are really the only ones we care to study at length.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The images were fine and all, I mean that intro is great, the little graphics and all, but I really would have liked to have seen more of the actual GAME being played. From what we saw, there were no exciting moments captured. It was 'guy with ball gets to end zone' then cut to 'other guy with ball gets to end zone'. Well what about those plays where they stop the guy with the ball? And I don't mean just the ones where guys get chucked outta their chair. Good otherwise.
Rating: 7

Script: The words are unabated. Zupan is unforgiving, the recently injured quad is touching, and the coach is relentless, holy jumpin'. He'd rather have a heart attack than stop screaming. When you watch this, the characters tell you little secrets of the life and I'm talking real secrets here. It's fun to learn, let me tell you.
Rating: 7

Plot: The way this unfolds is great. The Canadian Coach twist is a very dramatic tale which adds good rivalry. The Canadian element and the rooting for the home team is offset by our love for Zupan, and in the end no matter who wins and who loses we really feel for the teams. That ending scene after the game is over is tear-jerking. It's a movie more about the condition, it's a doc that's more about the game. It's human and it's dramatic and it was a real fun trip.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mood is unrelenting determination at this sport, versus the new guy having to get used to life this way. From denial to acceptance is a really long way, and we get that. Once these people become players however, boy do they ever give up on giving up. And hey, can't go wrong with songs by Ministry.
Rating: 8

What the...! WTF! He's not allowed walking! NO WALKING!"

Overall Rating: 76% (Killer!)

Aftertaste: I got what I expected and a little more. At this stage in life I can pretty much guess how it's going to be just reading a little bit about it. I have faith in the filmmaker and in the documentarist to make what I expect and want to see. This went a little further and told me things I didn't know, and aside from watching a rivalry come to a head, I learned a lot along the way.