1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Disarm. - Movie Review - 2009

Disarm Now, Or Support Limbless Humans Later

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Disarm. - Movie Review - 2009

Disarm. on DVD

Disarm. is an in depth study and status report about a crucial worldwide humanitarian effort, one which can, with the commitment of all governments, be realized. It involves the total ban of the manufacture, trade, stockpiling and deployment of all landmines, and the removal and destruction of all landmines that are still buried in fields and forests around the globe. These weapons of mass destruction cripple entire populations one man, woman or child at a time. In Disarm., we meet some of the victims and the valiant nonviolent crusaders who are leading the fight to make the world safe from landmines.

The Footage of Missing Feet is Seriously Disturbing

Reel images of blood and gore we see in slice and dice, sci-fi and martial arts flicks have so desensitized us to visions of missing limbs that the shock and horror we feel when we see real people--men, women and children--whose legs have been blown off by landmines comes as a surprise. It's that genuine gut-wrenching heartache that makes Disarm., the alarming documentary by Mary Wareham and Brian Liu, so effective. That, and the film's details about about the ongoing worldwide landmine crisis.

Where in the World is the Next Victim?

Disarm. brings us to Burma, Bosnia, Colombia, Afghanistan and other countries, where we meet cadres of ordinary folk--farmers, school kids, housewives and other moms and pops--who've lost their limbs to explosive devices buried in fields and forests near their homes--maybe decades ago, during a war that has in its other manifestations been resolved.

Not a day goes by without an incalculable number of innocent people being maimed by landmines around the world. Even one person would be too many.

With striking visual candor, the filmmakers have included shocking footage of the amputation of a Burmese youngster's shattered leg--performed at the site of the explosion, without anesthetic, in order to save his life. We also see an elephant whose right front leg, reduced to a bloody footless stump, hangs from his majestic, powerful body. He, too, is a landmine victim.

As painful as it is to watch this footage, it should be seen. But the directors have edited a less gruesome version of the film to be shown to children.

Land Mine Status Report

You may be shocked, too, to learn that, ironically, the manufacture of prosthetic legs is currently Afghanistan's largest industry. On the streets of Kabul, legions of amputees--some with prosthetic legs, others on crutches, many in wheelchairs--march in protest against the proliferation of landmines--the sort that maimed them and destroyed their lives. And, then, there's the elderly beggar who is sitting on blacktop, right in the middle of two lanes of oncoming traffic, with his hands outstretched to receive coins from passengers in the passing vehicles. His leg stumps are propped up on cement blocks. The image is harrowing.

Landmine Removal--A Worldwide Initiative

The film follows teams of helmeted men moving inch by inch through the countryside of various nations, scanning the earth with metal detectors and removing landmines where they find them. The job is huge, dangerous and time consuming--but it's in process. A lot has been accomplished in the ten years since the history-making Mine Ban Treaty was signed on March 1, 1999, but there's still so much to do. In Disarm., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams, who spearheaded the global initiative that lead to the signing of Mine Ban Treaty, speaks eloquently about accomplishments, but also points out that several of the world's most powerful nations--the US among them--have still not signed the accord. That, too, is shocking.

Looking Forward

Without getting preachy or providing patronizing platitudes, Disarm. is a call to action. The film makes it clear that a mine-free world is possible--if we all insist that it be so.

If You Find This Film Interesting, You May Also Want To See:

Film Details:

  • Directors: Mary Wareham, Brian Liu
  • Theatrical Release Date: July, 2005
  • DVD: Release, February, 2009. Special Features include 40 Minutes of Deleted Scenes, Director's Commentary and Trailers
  • Running Time: 67 mins., excluding DVD extras
  • Parental Advisory: Content and language advisory for parents
  • Country: Afghanistan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Switzerland, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Thailand, Washington, DC
  • Language: English and other languages with English subtitles. DVD also available with French, German, Portugese, Russian, and Spanish Subtitles
  • Company: Next Step Productions/ ToolboxDC/IndiePix

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.