Reaction Paper: Murderball
Murderball is a documentary about quadriplegic rugby or wheelchair rugby, which was a gripping and genuinely moving look at life and happiness despite crippling disabilities. I have great respect and admiration for people who have made so much for themselves despite their obstacles. The sport itself is brutal and compelling, an entirely athletic competition that bears little resemblance to the “Special Olympics” or other events where “everyone is a winner”.
The rivalry between Team USA and Team Canada is fiercer than many conventional sports teams. It was startling at first, especially because I wondered how people who have suffered major injuries would risk further broken limbs. This documentary is funny, sad, fast, frank, explosive, sexy, tender, loving, and the action is bone-jarring. It amazes me that the filmmakers were able to solidify such an honest portrayal of living life from the seat of a wheelchair. Four characters which were very memorable were Joe Soares, Mark Zupan, Chris Igoe, and Keith Cavill.
I grew rather weary of the ex-superstar, Joe Soares, who “betrayed” Team USA and went to coach Team Canada when he was cut from the team. He appeared to be a bit pompous and self-absorbed. His character did seem to soften when he had a heart attack, attended his son’s recital, and allowed his son to place his academic trophies on the same display with his athletic trophies.
Mark Zupan, the “new superstar tough guy”, talks a lot of trash in the spirit of the game. Although, he does shows remarkable heart when introducing the life-changing sport to potential recruits and when cementing his friendship Chris Igoe, who caused the accident that put him in a wheelchair. Their reconciliation on-screen was very touching. Mark’s interaction with Keith Cavil a newly injured, quadriplegic was also quite stirring. Keith appears to lights up for the first time after his injury while using Marks rugby wheelchair.
If I could...