The Man Who Was Pat Tillman
Tillman, according to those who knew him, considered himself to be an ordinary guy who happened to enjoy a good challenge and liked using whatever talents he possessed to do the best he could in meeting it. However, to family, friends and millions of fans, Tillman was an extraordinary man with stellar attributes: he was strapping, handsome, smart, truth-seeking and loyal, a stand up humanist who managed to balance a penchant for calling his own shots with his unfailing dedication to fairness and team play.
During his life, profiles of Tillman's larger-than-life persona and details about his game and achievements were served up as daily fare by star-struck media were relished by adoring fans.
No surprise that news of the death of Corporal Pat Tillman, U.S. Army Ranger, in April of 2004, during his deployment in Afghanistan, made banner headlines and set the entire nation -- not just sports fans -- into mourning.
Telling the Tale of Tillman's Death
But official accounts of Tillman's death lacked critical information that his family -- understandably wanting to understand under what circumstances their beloved son-brother-husband took his last breath -- demanded to know. Pat's mom, every bit as strong and determined as her heroic son, began investigating. She met with obfuscation. Then, as she persisted, from behind the crumbling official wall of silence emerged the troubling evidence that Pat's death was caused by friendly fire. Yes, friendly fire. And, yes, this critical information had been intentionally withheld and covered up by the administration.
A second wave of banner headlines upheld Tillman's status as Hero, but rebuked authorities for purposefully camouflaging the circumstances of Tillman's death and spinning the incident to serve as pro-war propaganda. Of course, disclosure didn't reverse Tillman's demise, but it did, at least, honor the truth -- and that is something for which Tillman, the stand up man, always stood.
Tillman's Tale Has Mythic Resonance
The Tillman Story affords viewers the joyful experience of getting to know more about the remarkable Pat Tillman and appreciate his accomplishments.
But be advised, The Tillman Story is not a light-hearted fan-pandering biopic. Director Amir Bar Lev weaves into the fabric of his narrative elemental issues that stretch beyond the Tillman legend to the realm of myth, to the arena in which story is used to elicit contemplation of topics such as the nature of heroism, the contracts between governments and their citizens, family and civic loyalty and questions about why men fight and what lies beyond our perceptions of truth.
The Tillman Story is a profound film. By all means see it, and do prepare yourself to delve.
If You Like This Film, You May Also Like:
- My Kid could Paint That (Amir Bar Lev's documentary about famed child artist Mara Olmstead)
- In The Shadow of Afghanistan
- The Good Soldier
- Taxi To The Dark Side
- Fighting For Life
- Title: The Tillman Story
- Director: Amir Bar Lev
- Release Date: August 20, 2010
- Running Time: 94 mins.
- MPAA Rating: R for language
- Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
- Location: USA
- Language: English
- Production Company: Passion Pictures, A&E IndieFilms
- Distribution: The Weinstein Company
- Official Website