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Murderball
     

Murderball

Director: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro, Keith Cavill, Joe Soares

Cast: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro, Keith Cavill, Joe Soares

 

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Better known as Wheelchair Rugby, Murderball is a game created by quadriplegic athletes that is every bit as aggressive as the name would lead one to expect; played with bone-breaking intensity, a typical game of Wheelchair Rugby involves plenty of trash-talking, a few head-on collisions, and the occasional player being thrown from his modified wheelchair. The game

Overview

Better known as Wheelchair Rugby, Murderball is a game created by quadriplegic athletes that is every bit as aggressive as the name would lead one to expect; played with bone-breaking intensity, a typical game of Wheelchair Rugby involves plenty of trash-talking, a few head-on collisions, and the occasional player being thrown from his modified wheelchair. The game has become an official event at the Paralympics, a worldwide competition for handicapped athletes, and the United States and Canada have become fierce rivals in the event. When Joe Soares was dropped from the top-seated American team, he angrily retaliated by signing on as coach for the Canadian team, which he led to an upset victory for Team Canada in the games. In 2004, filmmaker Henry Alex Rubin and journalist Dana Adam Shapiro followed both teams as they traveled to Athens, Greece, for the 2004 Paralympics, documenting the fierce competition between the two teams (especially the Americans, bitterly stung by what they saw as Soares' betrayal). Murderball offers an up-close look at the 2004 Wheelchair Rugby tournament, as well as the personal stories of the athletes who are passionate, driven, and determined to win -- as one of them says, "I'm not here for a hug, I'm here for a medal." Murderball earned an enthusiastic reception in its premier screenings at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Murderball works as a sports documentary, a study of how people recover psychologically from an accident that leaves them as a quadriplegic, and as an examination of how competitive, testosterone-filled guy's guys have to learn to let down their guard in order to experience the fullness of life. Before the age of ESPN, ABC's Wide World of Sports used to show athletic competitions, like elephant polo, that the average American viewer had never seen. The beginning of Murderball garners the same kind of interest. The rules of quad rugby are very simple, allowing the viewer to quickly appreciate the skill of the people playing and gain a rooting interest in the players who engage in this international sport. What elevates the documentary is that the filmmakers get deep into the lives of the two most interesting human subjects. Joe Soares and Mark Zupan are hard-nosed, aggressive men. The film makes no effort to make these two sympathetic just because they are quadriplegic, in large part because they themselves don't ask for it. As the filmmakers reveal the troubled history of Zupan's relationship with the friend who inadvertently caused the accident that led him to lose the full use of his limbs, and explore the strained yet rather typical relationship the intense Soares has with his mild-mannered young son, the audience learns to feel for these two as three-dimensional humans. These story threads are intertwined with personal stories from other players on the team, young men for whom discovering how to have a sex life after their respective accidents and illnesses was of the utmost importance. Murderball succeeds on all of these levels, making for a rich viewing experience.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/29/2005
UPC:
0821575533676
Original Release:
2005
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Velocity / Thinkfilm
Time:
1:26:00

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