“Body of War”

Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue’s “Body of War” (2007) is a documentary film that goes along with the life of an Iraq War veteran named Tomas Young. The unfortunate Tomas Young was shot in the war and though alive, he became paralyzed because of a bullet that hit his spine. Consequently, Tomas Young begins to question whether going enlisting as a soldier and going to war in Iraq was a good idea. The plot of the movie goes into both the physical as well as the emotional journey of Tomas Young as he tries to adapt with his environment in his current condition.

For the past few years, documentaries and several movies continue to exist, basing their stories on the involvement of the United States with Iraq. Considering the condition of Tomas Young, it can be said that the movie’s main focus is the effect of the war, particularly the conflict between the United States and Iraq, on individuals or on a single soldier. Allegedly, in September 13, 2001 Tomas Young enlisted for the United States Army because of the influence of the September 11 attacks.

When he suffered spinal injury, Tomas Young and his family had to adjust because of his physical conditions or problems. Tomas Young, aside from having his legs incapacitated, frequently vomits and could not control his body temperature. He also encounters sexual difficulties with his recently married wife. Due to these negative effects, Tomas Young who was passionate about serving his nation became an anti-war. The disheartened Tomas Young makes public speeches and personal visits to several politicians in their office.

The politicians, particularly the senators, call for a resolution regarding the war in Iraq. The plot continued where the filmmakers’ provided the audience with cleverly cut footages of the senators, which is an interesting style of presenting a plot. However, the plot of the story proceeds to a wearisome roll call of each and every senator who was in favor of the bill. The senators also made their public speeches and the documentary film becomes a parade of anti-war propaganda.

At this part, it can be observed that the filmmakers’ main intention was to create an anti-war propaganda film. As an audience, I believe that the movie would be really interesting if the filmmakers’ simply focused on the life of Tomas Young. The documentary film on his life alone is a strong or persuasive documentary on the effects of war. In addition to this, Tomas Young’s own battle in his wheelchair and in persuading officials to provide his medications is a striking or moving story which anybody can appreciate.

Tomas Young also reminds the audiences of the hardships or endeavors of our war veterans and how we treat them. It does not only give me the spirit to help the war veterans in claiming their war benefits but it also encourages me to help others who are in need. In a different perspective, Tomas Young’s spinal injury makes me speculate that he had a lower spinal injury because he lost mobility or felt numb only in his legs or in the lower parts of his body (paraplegia).

Regarding his injury, I believe that he can still recover or his pain can be eased if he receives proper medication and sufficient rehabilitation. Aside from making speeches regarding the war, I believe that the senators should also give their time on helping veterans, or in the physical and occupational therapy on Tomas Young. If the government exist to serve its country, then it should first serve and help the people. Works Cited Body of War. Dir. Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue. Film Sales Company, 2007.

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