Owen Gleiberman
April 09, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Body of War

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
87 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/09/08
director
Phil Donahue, Ellen Spiro
distributor
Film Sales Company
genre
Documentary

We gave it a B-

Body of War is the most agonizing, if not necessarily the most artful, of Iraq-war documentaries. Tomas Young, a 25-year-old paralyzed veteran, had been in Iraq just one week when a bullet shattered his spine. The movie, codirected by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue (yes, that Phil Donahue), shows us Young’s life — his physical ordeal, his moral rage — between snippets of congressional debate speeches, many bursting with Saddam-is-the-devil hyperbole. The contrast between hollow manipulated ”truth” and tragic consequences makes its point, yet it’s a touch disquieting to see a movie use its sensitivity to one soldier’s trauma this didactically. B-

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