Review: ‘Becoming Bulletproof’ shoots down misconceptions about the disabled

The term “inspirational” gets bandied about a lot, but “Becoming Bulletproof” is thoroughly deserving of that tag.

The deeply moving documentary, which chronicles the production of a short film featuring people with disabilities, quietly blasts away all stigma and preconceived notions in the process.

Founded by brothers Will and Peter Halby, Zeno Mountain Farm is a filmmaking summer camp where invited attendees get to star in a Hollywood-style film.

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Referring to his nonprofit organization as a social experiment in extreme diversity, Will Halby decided to up the stakes with “Bulletproof,” a fully scripted mini-western shot on location at Pioneertown, the Old West movie set in Yucca Valley.

Covering the production from rehearsals to the red carpet premiere, director Michael Barnett wisely spends most of its time with the remarkable cast, who have had to deal with challenges that include Down syndrome and Williams syndrome, the latter of which is a genetic disorder that, according to actor Jeremy Vest, “makes us look like pixies and fairies and elves.”

But the heart and soul of “Becoming Bulletproof” is the charismatic, articulate A.J. Murray — his speech spared by his lifelong cerebral palsy — who credits the camp for allowing him to “feel significance, dignity and purpose.”

Although Halby humbly maintains Zeno’s mission is not to educate anybody about anything, Murray and Barnett would beg to differ, shining a revealing spotlight on our own prejudices and widely held misconceptions.



“Becoming Bulletproof.”

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills.


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