Co-directed by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue—yes, that Phil Donahue, who will do a Q&A following the 7 p.m. Friday show—Body of War is neither the most cinematic nor the most elegantly crafted of recent Iraq War documentaries, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the most deeply affecting. Where Spiro and Donahue triumph is in putting a human face on the war—namely, that of U.S. Army Specialist Tomas Young, a patriotic Kansas City youth who was shot through the collarbone and paralyzed from the chest down after less than a week on the ground in Baghdad. Unambiguously angry and direct in an old-fashioned protest-movie way (complete with anthems by Eddie Vedder), Body of War follows Young's bittersweet homecoming, his adjustment to life in a wheelchair, his conversion into an antiwar activist, and the gradual collapse of his marriage. But the most devastating scenes are arguably Spiro and Donahue's found-footage flashbacks to the 2002 prewar debates in Congress. They turn Body of War into the latest uncredited Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake.
Mr. Young goes to Washington in Body of War.
Runs at Varsity, Fri., April 18–Thurs., April 24. Not rated. 87 minutes.