‘Becoming Bulletproof’ Review

By Jeff Rhodes

When I volunteered to see this film I had no idea what to expect. I had not seen the trailer or heard anything about it. When I finally researched what it was, it did peak my interest. Still, I’m not the biggest fan of documentaries and there are only a handful of them that I truly in enjoy. I am glad to say that I can add Becoming Bulletproof to that category.

     The film opens to one of the stars, A.J. Murray, in his home. A.J. has cerebral palsy, a muscular disorder that deals with matters of brain and nervous system functioning properly. Th film shows parts of his everyday life, like his mother helping him out of bed and brushing his teeth for him. At this point I was already making assumptions about the movie, thinking it was just going to be a story following A.J. and his struggles to try raise awareness for cerebral palsy and other disorders like it. To my pleasant surprise later in the film, A.J. reaches out to an organization called Zeno who welcomes people with disabilities and those without to come together and make short films. A.J. joins the group and starts working on Zeno’s next short western film, Bulletproof Jackson. Throughout the movie you are introduced to different people who have different disabilities and their backstory as well as A.J.’s story.

     Becoming Bulletproof acts as a behind the scenes making of Bulletproof Jackson. You see all the fun the group has together making the short film, but  also the trials they face dealing with the everyday problems of filmmaking and actors who have disabilities. The documentary has a perfect blend of humor and seriousness. One moment you’re laughing, and the next you’re crying, or in my case you “might have something in your eye”.  Kudos to director Michael Barnett and his crew for the shots and interviews they got that really make the film as powerful as it is. Watching the way the members of Zeno interacted with each other was very inspirational. Becoming Bulletproof isn’t just a great, heartwarming documentary, it shows that even though people might have certain disabilities, they still struggle with normal, human activities, like memorizing lines, love, and life in general. One of my favorite quotes of the film comes from A.J., who says, “I do not want pity because I have a disability, I just want to be understood. I want disability to have a seat at the table in pop culture.”

The feeling of camaraderie from the cast in this film is was very uplifting to see on the big screen. For most of the cast, acting is something they dream about doing, and they are living out their dream thanks to Michael Barnett and the directors at Zeno. Becoming Bulletproof moves people to follow their dreams and never give up. I can honestly say I was glad that I volunteered to see this movie. I have never felt so many emotions from one documentary. If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to go see it if you have the time, and if you don’t have time, make some.  I promise you won’t regret it.

Check out the interviews with Director’s Assistant Katie White and subject from the film Jeremy Vest here.

Verdict: Incredible
Positives: A perfect blend of humor and seriousness, a great feeling of camaraderie between the cast, will truly move you.
Negatives: Pretty much nothing.