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Body of War (2007)

Unrated | | Documentary, War | 17 October 2007 (USA)
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The story of an injured American veteran returning home from the war Iraq is set against the backdrop of a critical indictment of the government's handling of the U.S.-led invasion.
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Credited cast:
Robert Byrd ... Himself
Garett Reppenhagen Garett Reppenhagen ... Himself
Cathy Smith Cathy Smith ... Herself
Nathan Young Nathan Young ... Himself
Tomas Young Tomas Young ... Himself


Body of War is a documentary following Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran paralyzed from a bullet to the spine, on a physical and emotional journey as he adapts to his new body and begins to question the decision to go to war in Iraq. From soldier to anti-war activist, the film takes an unflinching view of the physical and emotional aftermath of war through the eyes of an American hero. The film unfolds on two parallel tracks. On the one hand, we see Tomas evolving into a powerful voice against the war as he struggles to deal with the complexities of a paralyzed body. And on the other hand, we see the historic debate unfolding in the Congress about going to war in Iraq. Written by Ellen Spiro

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Documentary | War


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Release Date:

17 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Travma polemou See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$71,716, 4 May 2008
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Written and Performed by Eddie Vedder
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User Reviews

A Deeply Human Portrait of the Cost of the Iraq War
14 March 2008 | by JustCuriositySee all my reviews

Body of War had its regional premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX where it was received by a highly sympathetic and supportive crowd. In the emerging cottage industry of Iraq War films, Body of War is one of the best. This is not about the war in Iraq as much as it is about the war at home. It follows in the ground of films like The Ground Truth and War Tapes by focusing largely on the Iraq War veterans.

This film brings the tragedy of the Iraq War into human perspective by allowing us to view it mostly through the eyes of a single disabled war vet, Tomas Young of Kansas City. Tomas was severely wounded in the first few days of the war and is paralyzed from the chest down. He has struggled to put his life back together physically and emotionally. He has also become an activist speaking out against the lies that nearly killed him.

The film intertwines Tomas's story with the footage of members of Congress voting on the War resolution in October, 2002. Its weakness is that the parts about the war vote are at times a little didactic and preachy. However, Sen. Robert Byrd clips and his cameo appearance do add a touch of class. Body of War is a powerful testament to the absurdity and dishonesty upon which the Iraq War was based. Tomas is a hero and he has suffered unspeakable pain, because his country sent him to fight an unnecessary war. He volunteered just after September 11 to go and fight the terrorists that attacked his country and was instead sent to fight to a war against a country that posed no threat to the United States. That is a tragedy both for Tomas and the nation.

Tomas is a true patriot who is now fighting to bring his fellow soldiers home - including his own brother who is currently on his third tour in Iraq. Body of War is an unflinching film that presents some of the most intimate details of Tomas's physical and emotional suffering in order to help us understand how heavy the cost of this war for vets like Tomas. And yet, while the subject matter is disturbing, the film also uses humor and music to present the story in a manner that is not bleak.

Most Americans have been isolated from the true costs of this war. We've been allowed to live our ordinary lives (as the administration cuts taxes) while a small portion of our military volunteers and their families have carried the burden for all of us. This is the type of film that Americans need to see so that we can understand the true cost of the war.

Far too often, this sort of films simply preaches to the choir. It is my fervent hope that Americans who still support the Bush administration and the Iraq war will go and see this very moving and very personal film. There are too many Tomas Youngs who have suffered too much already.

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