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Murderball (2005)

Cast: Joe Soares, Joe Soares, Keith Cavill, more...
Director: Dana Adam Shapiro, Dana Adam Shapiro, Henry Alex Rubin, more...
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Studio: Velocity Home Entertainment
Genre: Documentary, Sports, Sports Documentary
Running Time: 86 min.
Languages: English
    see additional details...

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. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The "Mad Max" Wheelchair Crowd by talltale December 9, 2005 - 6:59 AM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
MURDERBALL may look like a nonstop-macho-handicapped commercial, and the first scene would seem to underscore this. Hang on, because almost immediately the movie grows more interesting. If it never gives as much information as you might like and fails to answer some of your questions, by the end, you'll probably feel your time has been well spent. Co-directors Rubin and Shapiro place you as far into the paraplegic's wheelchair as you're likely to get, and being there is eye/mind/emotion-opening. For its fine (and funny) discussion of wheelchair sex alone, this movie does a terrific service.

While all the characters are interesting, it's Joe Soares (he moves from a player for the US to a coach for Canada's team) who has the most unusual story. There is likely an entire sequel here regarding Joe's Canadian "iceberg," the tip of which we only hear in passing at film's end. This is the kind of documentary that wins awards all over the country, has critics reaching for their utmost adjectives, and that no one goes to see. Probably sounds too depressing, right? Let's watch "March of the Penguins" instead. Know what? It isn't depressing, and it's a lot more interesting that that long line of avian tuxedos.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.47)
146 Votes
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Is it October 10th already? It's been a year since my last anniversary list.
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