This feature documentary from first-time filmmaker Shaina Koren Allen follows the Miami Heat Wheels on their journey towards the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Championship.
The Rebound hits all the standard sports-doc beats, with plucky underdogs overcoming adversity in their quest for success, but the film’s real MVP is the inspiring team it portrays. The Miami Heat Wheels boasts a cast of engaging and entertaining characters, who talk openly and honestly about their experiences. The film focuses on three: Jeremie, a young man born with spina bifida, who is also pursuing a musical career in hip hop; Orlando, who was shot during an attempted kidnapping and now hopes a basketball scholarship will be the key to getting into college; and Mario, who after a shooting turned his back on his criminal past and devoted himself body and soul to basketball.
The film’s focus is deeply personal, giving the audience some highly emotional insights into the issues faced by those with disabilities and the impact it has on their everyday lives. It is also a joy to see the confidence that wheelchair basketball gives these men, and how the sport can open so many opportunities in other areas, such as higher education.
In regards to the nuts and bolts, the film is well shot and cut together, with the players’ stories brought to life with some cinematic scenes, while the games sequences are well-paced for maximum energy and tension.
The film might have benefited from a little more social and political context; relevant issues like state funding for wheelchair sports and America’s gun violence epidemic are only touched upon, and there’s precious little female perspective. But perhaps keeping the story focused on the team, its struggles and its successes, plays to the film’s strengths.
It might not be reinventing the wheel, but The Rebound is a heartening and inspiring watch, and definitely not just for sports fans.
Find out how you can watch it at www.reboundthefilm.com/
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