At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, one of the most talked-about pictures was The Tillman Story. The film drew generally great reviews and was quickly the object of an acquisition bid by The Weinstein Company. Now there’s a trailer that paints Amir Bar-Lev‘s documentary not just as a portrait of a huge, terrible lie, but as a thriller as taut as any fictional tale.
I’ll go to David Chen, who reviewed the film at Sundance, for a quick recap of the basics of Pat Tillman’s story, as recounted in the film:
Tillman was famously offered a multi-million dollar NFL contract, only to give it up in order to serve in the military. When Tillman was shot and killed in the line of duty, the U.S. military spun the incident as a story of a brave soldier killed while fighting off Taliban forces. Later, it was revealed that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, and that the military had lied in its initial report about Tillman’s death. What went into these lies, and what actually happened to Pat Tillman?
There’s quite a bit more to it than that, and from what I understand, the film doesn’t present a whole lot of new information about Tillman’s story that hasn’t already been featured elsewhere. If you’re looking for an expose to go beyond the significant reportage that has already been done, this won’t be it.
But it’s this statement by David that really piques my interest: “As an examination into America’s desire and need for simplistic narratives to inform our perceptions, the film is insightful and eye-opening.” That’s a particularly good angle on this story, and one that could take the movie beyond being simply an inflammatory doc about how horribly Pat Tillman’s life and story were treated by the military.