Murderball is a perfect example of many of the themes illustrated in the Garland-Thompson article. Disability rhetoric, such as the wondrous, realistic, and exotic, are portrayed throughout the film. Individuals being able to play a sport, especially a sport as intense and aggressive as murderball, are seen as wondrous because it amazes the viewer. It makes it seem that the individual who is disabled is performing feats that the nondisabled viewer cannot even imagine doing. This provides individuals who participate in Murderball to be portrayed as the courageous overcomer rather than an individual who is just playing a sport they enjoy. Another visual rhetoric I saw in the film was the exotic. Mark Zupan serves as a jock figure who is hyper-masculine while still using a wheelchair. This disrupts the vulnerable image of disability that sentimental rhetoric portrays. This causes individuals to become curious and fascinated because it contradicts the more sentimental views of disability. Realistic rhetoric was portrayed through the interactions between the individuals. The movie portrayed disability as a normal aspect of everyday life. It displayed the characters playing cards, having parties, and showing that they live an ordinary life despite of their disability. The characters were looked at as individuals and were able to show that they are more than their disability. They were individuals, not just a wheelchair.
Society’s stereotypes of disability were also portrayed in the film. The characters shared their experiences of individuals approaching them and making statements like “glad to see you out”, which shows how ableism is apparent in our society. The film displayed the raw emotions that arise when not only experiencing a disability, but of playing a demanding and extreme sport. Their open and honest personal accounts were refreshing to hear. This was an interesting documentary since I never knew that this type of rugby existed. I believe it is a good outlet for individuals to show they are more than their disability and they still remain the same person capable of the same things, but in different ways.