Hands of God review by Bobby Blakey
Some of the most engaging and sometimes unbelievable stories come from real life. The latest documentary from Film Movement, Hands of God blends two subjects in sports and war, but does it pack the punch it needs or will it fail to make weight?
Hands of God follows he true story of the Iraqi National Boxing Team and their amazing journey from desperation to the edge of an historic qualification. The film follows a group of young men -- Waheed, Jafaar, and Saadi -- who, with grit and determination, rise to fight for their Nation while defending their lives on the battlefields. When their gym is devastated by a bomb attack, they train outside. Despite living under the persistent threat of ISIS, these men re-define commitment and sacrifice as they strive to accomplish their dreams.
When you think of the Olympics you often just envision elite athletes in fancy training facilities but we all know that’s rarely the truth. While most have humble beginnings and locals not too many are in the middle of a warzone. My first aspect to this documentary that hit me was not the training or even the horrors of war itself, but seeing them speak about their own fights with ISIS. Sadly most here in this country assume that Iraq the country and Muslims the religion is the problem, but that is not the case. It’s the people that are brainwashed and the people living in it every day are suffering more than we ever will.
This is something that is discussed throughout as it directly affects their training, inclusion and ability to move forward in their dreams. Seeing these young men training so hard to become champions, but also how much they love their country and want it free from the terror they face regularly is eye opening. These young men are caught between honor and loyalty to the land they love, passion and passion for the sport of boxing and their dedication to be champions. It is inspiring to see what they deal with every day and still see their positive attitude despite the dangers they face every day of their lives.
I went into this documentary interested in the boxing and their Olympic journey but instead got so much more. If I had an initial issue with the film it was the abrupt end and lack of information to how it panned out in regards to the Olympics. This was actually a genius move as it made me go research these guys and in turn kept the story alive beyond the film itself.
Grab your copy of Hands of God available now on DVD from Film Movement.