The Tillman Story
Commentators: Dannie Tillman, Pat Tillman Sr., Marie Tillman, Rich Tillman, Kevin Tillman and Stan Goff
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
Scriptwriter: Mark Monroe
The Weinstein Company
Rating: R for language
Running Length: 115 minutes
Patrick (Pat) Tillman was a star athlete in high school, college and the NFL. His decision to leave a multi-million dollar sports career and join the Army Rangers to fight in the Middle East was nothing short of sensational. This after the 9/11 attack on the U.S., when going to war was everyday conversation. Pat’s older brother, Kevin, was also in the Rangers. Less than four years later, on April 22, 2004, Pat Tillman was dead, shot in an ambush in Afghanistan. When various explanations were given as to the cause of his death, the Tillman family, headed by Pat’s mother, Dannie, began to investigate. This documentary shows the course of their action and what they discovered.
As a person, Pat Tillman was almost super-human. He excelled at everything he did and was a top athlete. Pat even married his high school sweetheart, Marie. More than half of the documentary is on this part of Tillman’s life and it isn’t until he is in the Middle East, that we begin to learn what might have actually happened to him. When the film footage is in Afghanistan, you can see the conditions soldiers are confronted including rugged terrain and danger everywhere.
From Day One, when Pat left the NFL and joined the army, he had the press at hand. At first, his death was said to be an ambush and he was a hero for defending his men. Then, the whisper of “friendly fire” began. The Tillman family pulled together, along with friends, and kept seeking answers. Years later, an “almost explanation” is given at a senate hearing. Eventually, one general is held accountable, but he was already retired and out of play.
“Friendly fire” could have been the cause of Pat Tillman‘s death, but no one is saying for sure. In fact, a cover-up is laid out in capital letters and goes high through military ranks. This is a case where publicity is used as a tool. Unlike Truman’s famous comment, “The buck stops here,” in Tillman’s case it keeps on going and going. As shown here during senate hearings, buck passing can be a military art.
Copyright 2010 Marie Asner
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