Mark Zupan, Andy Cohn, Scott Hogsett, Joe Soares
CONCEIVED & DIRECTED BY
Henry Rubin, Dana Shapiro
"Murderball" is an exemplary documentary following the lives of quadriplegics who participate in the sport of wheelchair rugby, a full contact and highly aggressive sport that breaks stereotypes and allows these men, from various backgrounds, to claim a sense of normalcy and a sense of control within their bodies.
The film turned Murderball player Mark Zupan into a sort of celebrity with his uniquely good looks and spirited personality allowing him to become a regular on the talk show circuit and in appearances around the country.
As written and directed by Henry Rubin and Dana Shapiro, Murderball is a celebration of life and an inspirational story as these men follow their dreams of playing in the Paralympics in Greece.
The film works best because it combines the scenes of the sport with the stories of the lives of these men. We learn about their stories, their successes, their struggles, their loves and their dreams. We follow those quads who are simply trying to adjust to their newfound bodies and we follow those who have been quads for years. Some are fierce competitors, while others use the sport as a sort of therapy.
The film is graphic in its tone, language and approach to sexuality and it's refreshing to see a film openly deal with these subjects and those individuals living with disability.
A bit of a disappointment at the box office, "Murderball" was destined to be a hard sell. It deals with the challenging topic of disability, the unknown sport of rugby and blows apart the often portrayed "innocent" and stereotypical image that movies so often like to play with individuals who live with physical challenges.
These men are challenged, but you'd be hard-pressed to call them disabled. They live, love, learn, play, work and fuck live everyone else. "Murderball" is a celebration of the human spirit and a testimony of the power of the human body to adapt and heal. Deeply humor, tender, touching, spirited, inspirational and powerfully authentic...Murderball is a winner!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic