17
Nov 05

Fallingoverball

Do You SeePost a comment • 260 views

There is more than a degree of hubris with the title of Murderball. Even its proper name, Wheelchair Rugby, is a bit misleading, as the rules are more akin to full contact basketball. No-one is murdered, forwarded passes are allowed and whilst the clash of chairs looks impressive, they probably aren’t going all that fast when it happens. How much speed can you get up on a basketball court? The worst that seems to happen is a few wheelchairs get upended. Fallingoverball rather than murderball.

Murderball the documentary suffers slightly from fitting far too closely to the formula for fictional sports films. Perhaps the US team, having won every championship up until the opening of the film, do not fit easily into the role of underdogs: though their disability can make it easy to consider them in that way. The film does a nice job in balancing the compelling sports story (US vs Canada) with its dissection of quadriplegic life. The fine and firm message from the later, spills over nicely to the former so the aggression and questionable attitude portrayed on the court seem justified. What the film cannot do though, being a documentary, is control the actual story. So when we see the climactic US vs Canada game at the paralymipics it is presented as the final. Only later do we realise that sport is much more capricious than even nature. And never underestimate a Kiwi team in a game that purports to be related to Rugby.

But in a film which is about with dealing with the vicissitudes of life, Murderball’s lack of control over its subject matter seems thematically correct: and it makes for a great movie.

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