Body of War
Tomas Young volunteered for the US Army right after 9/11, hoping to be sent to Afghanistan and chase down Osama bin Laden. Instead, he was packed off to Iraq, another victim of the Bush administration’s lie about Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Five days after his arrival, Young was shot; he suffered spinal damage and was paralyzed from the chest down. For several years of cinéma-vérité, Ellen Spiro and TV’s Phil Donahue tracked Young back home in America, as the bitter young Missourian became an obsessive anti-war activist, traveling the country in a wheelchair to tell his story.
Body of War is a powerful film, an important personal and political document. There’s Young’s absorbing family tale — his liberal mom, his Bush-loving stepdad, his militarist brother — and also his struggle to make a marriage go when his body parts won’t cooperate. And there’s Young on the national scene, as a meeting is arranged with ancient West Virginia senator Robert Byrd, who fought eloquently in Washington to stop the invasion of Iraq. This coming together of two pacifist warriors, both hobbling through life, is stirring and poetic Americana, like something from a great John Ford epic. 87 minutes | Kendall Square