Actors: Alec Bandler
Director: Michael Barnett
Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2016
Run Time: 82 minutes
Not unlike the movie that the documentary captures the filmmaking of, Becoming Bulletproof is far more admirable for the story behind the content than for the skill going into the filmmaking itself. It is a documentary with a message, but not one of political, economic or environmental significance. Instead it is a movie seeking only personal significance; obviously for the actors involved in the production, but also for anyone with a disability, or anyone with similar aspirations to pursue their dreams regardless of the odds they may face.
Becoming Bulletproof documents the making of the independent low budget Western film, Bulletproof, though this is mostly just the framework for a film about the organization that made the movie. Zeno Mountain Farm is a filmmaking group that comes together to create an original film every year, though it is less about the final product than it is the experience in filmmaking, made obvious by their choice to refer to time spent on set as “camp.” The community is made up of actors with disabilities along with many filmmaking professionals and volunteers offering their experience and abilities to the non-profit projects. The experience is clearly fulfilling for all involved, bringing them back year after year.
The documentary Becoming Bulletproof enters this tight-knit community through new member A.J. Murray, a film fan who is handicapped and suffering from cerebral palsy. Tired of spending days cooped up in his house, forced to rely on his mother’s unending support, A.J. jumps at the opportunity to fill a spot in the ZMF community as an actor in their production of Bulletproof. Having
as a central voice
was a wise choice for Becoming
Bulletproof. His positive spirit and remarkably thoughtful articulations of
his experience as a handicapped person is what makes it easy to dismiss the
technical flaws and Becoming Bulletproof’s
directionless narrative. Murray
The DVD includes an audio description option for playback, but there are no other special features.
Entertainment Value: 8.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 6/10