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— Muhammad Ali, When We Were Kings

MRQE Top Critic

Muscle Shoals

Even if the Muscle Shoals sound isn't on your iPod, you'll like seeing where it came from —Marty Mapes (review...)

Etta sings in Muscle Shoals

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This grim soldier’s tale has some bad acting and some overextended melodrama, but eventually it hits its stride and becomes a gripping drama. Based on his own novel, this film was written and directed by Colorado’s Dalton Trumbo, one of the filmmakers blacklisted in the McCarthy era.

We are introduced to a group of WWI doctors discussing their “decerebrated” patient. (The novel was written between the two world wars.) A quadriplegic without eyes, ears, nose, or mouth, he is assumed to be brain-dead. This patient, our hero, is actually alive and thinking, though unable to communicate. He spends his time pondering two things: his life before the war, and his present gruesome condition. Johnny Got His Gun may sound like a preachy and heavy-handed anti-war film, but the story’s focus on the man — and not on Man in general — keeps the film grounded.

  • Ron: The reviewer describes the protagonist of _Johnny Got His Gun_ as a "quadriplegic"--a more accurate identifier would be "quadruple amputee." September 1, 2010 reply