Synopsis by Mark Deming
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.
behind-the-scenes, coach, competition, dreams-of-success, Paralympics, quadriplegic, rugby, team, wheelchair