Paralyzed from the chest down after serving in Iraq for just one week, 25-year-old Tomas Young is forced to deal with the realities of war each and every day. For Tomas, learning to cope with his disability meant finding his voice to speak out against the war in Iraq.
Directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro and set to the haunting vocals of Eddie Vedder, the multi award-winning BODY OF WAR splits its time between Tomas s arduous daily reality in Kansas City, MO, and the legislative processes that led up to the invasion of Iraq in 2002.
Senatorial speeches and a running tally of pro-war votes are interspliced with intimate footage of Tomas as he navigates through the acute physical and emotional impacts of his injury. A testament to the power of parallel images, the film adeptly juxtaposes the sanitized vantage point of Washington with raw personal experience. In the end, this contrast forces viewers to question the motives, methods, and ever-rising cost of the conflict in Iraq.
A deeply moving and bracingly honest film, BODY OF WAR narrates a story that must be heard a story of courage, conviction, and resistance.
DVD Features: Eddie Vedder Music Video No More; MSNBC interview with Phil Donahue; CSPAN coverage of the House and Senate debates; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Trailer; Filmmaker Biographies
At the center of Body of War
is Tomas Young, a smart, determined guy who enlisted in the military the day after he saw President Bush stride through the ruins of the World Trade Center. He expected to be sent to Afghanistan to get the people who attacked his country; instead, he was shipped to Iraq, where he took a bullet through the collarbone a week after arriving and was paralyzed for life from the chest down. Young's subsequent struggle to be heard, by speaking out and questioning why U.S. soldiers went to Iraq, is chronicled in this film. Directors Phil Donahue (yes, talkshow host Phil Donahue) and Ellen Spiro cast a wider net, which is where the film begins to feel a little scattered, even if their cause is a fervent one. The Senate vote on authorizing the Bush plan for Iraq is a running theme, with the names of the voters emblazoned on the screen (this would be an even more effective drumbeat if it weren't drowning in overbearing music). Meanwhile, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, an old political hand with a checkered past, emerges as the voice of Constitutional sanity. His soaring speeches leading up to the crucial vote are excerpted at length, so it's no surprise that he and Tomas Young should eventually meet. But whatever the film's ambitions, its finest moments are in following Young and bluntly assessing (with considerable physical detail) his status. Original songs by Eddie Vedder are judiciously placed and passionately delivered. --Robert Horton