THE TILLMAN STORY: Movie Review


“I’M PAT FUCKING TILLMAN!” – Pat Tillman

It's Friday night (22:03) and I have an ass-kicking migraine, however, I’m NOT going to give in to any of it and pass out. I need to complete this review as I don’t think since CONTROL ROOM or SiCKO has a film pissed me the fuck off so much! For years and years I’ve been screaming about how our government lies and lies and with sprinkles of media blunders, the country’s sheep are force-fed a bunch of mushy bullshit at the cost of politics and continued propaganda in order to “justify” their agendas and continue their network of corruption. THE TILLMAN STORY has to be one of the most compelling documentaries I’ve ever seen when exposing the lengths a loving family – especially a mother – goes in order to seek truth. Dodging all sorts of hypocritical attention and offers to appease the family, she pulled no punches and dug as much as she could and with much digging emerged pieces to a puzzled – contributed by others – that not only opened up a door to truth on a day to day basis, but also opened an eye to a lot of families out there who I’m sure like her, but less “powerful” may also be questioning the deaths of their loved ones and remain with a blank stare into an abyss of misguidance.

The leader of a small team of Army Rangers on a reconnaissance mission in the Afghan hills was startled by bursts of gun-fire from below. They came not from Taliban fighters but from the second half of his own platoon, progressing around a bend in the road. The young Ranger threw a smoke grenade, and the shooting halted, but the shooters continued to advance. From perhaps only 40 or 50 yards away, they opened fire again, wounding him. “I’M PAT FUCKING TILLMAN!” he cried. The shooting resumed, and his head was – in the words of Brian O’Neal, the soldier nearest him – “completely gone.” In the fierce volley aka friendly fire, Tillman – then 27 – was the only Ranger killed.

This is the eyewitness account of events that happened on April 22, 2004. But it is not the version the world heard first. The Army reported that an enemy ambush killed Tillman, an Arizona Cardinals safety who in early 2002 rejected a multi-million dollar NFL contract to join the Army with his brother Kevin. Tillman was the most famous enlisted man in the war on terrorism: his death besides being a personal tragedy would be a P.R. nightmare. So, as Army veteran and Tillman family adviser Stan Goff said of the military’s thinking, “let’s spin this as a heroic action. We’ll turn his dead body into a recruiting poster.” To fog up any investigation. The Army destroyed Tillman’s uniform and diary. It took five weeks for a new narrative to emerge: Tillman was the victim of friendly fire, a fatal mistake made in the crazy fog of war. No soldiers were charged in his death.

Pat & Kevin Tillman in Afghanistan

Tangled with lots of information which now has a face, Director Amir Bar-Lev takes us into a detailed look of what happens when leaks occur and pieces to a puzzle of misery start to come together. Tillman’s family was presented with way too much to handle in hopes they’d give up, but with much desire and struggle, they refused. Emotional scenes from Tillman’s wake and prior to his death also educates the audience with who the man we only knew about through media clips and internet research really was and what he stood for. Coming from an Atheist family and grown into a full-fledge respectful person, subliminally a lot is implied which may leave conspiracy theorists licking their lips. Much from his views while in Iraq during a famous mission which would turn out to be Jessica Lynch’s rescue - another case full of bullshit - and views while watching Iraq being blown up and neutral reactions towards what exactly our military and government were doing in order to keep justifying wars leaves room for many assumptions – especially seeing as he’s a famous person with a following and who knows what spoilers he may have had once back home.

Of course this isn’t anything we heard or read about as it’s all kept in the dark, but with this film it’s open to your viewing and of course whatever your views may be are yours and respected, but this layered film with compilations of Tillman, his family, the military’s handling from low all the way up high in command, media and even their non-religious beliefs entailed a roller-coaster of emotions and it was really upsetting. There’s a scene where two (2) military higher-ups where phone-tapped and discuss how it’s starting to really annoy them that the family won’t go away and let it go to which another replies “It’s the Atheism in them which creates all the non-stop questioning…” I mean, really? Is that what we’ve come to where the life of a human-being who went to serve his country gets fucked by the same people who brain-washed and sent him, his brother as well as others there in the first place?! Give me a fucking break!

There’s too much in this film for me to lay out in this review and trust me I can go on and on, but the bulk of this documentary’s synopsis has been jotted. I’m so sick and tired of these assholes who continue to support without any questioning and move along like a herd of sheep. I’m so glad this film has been released and I really hope it continues to move around as it’s not something I think you’ll see FOX News or even CNN plug much. A lot of the clones who work for these outlets of lies are in the film as stock-footage during the years when Tillman’s case became mainstream. The film doesn’t have any lows and moves quite swiftly as it opens up with his image cutting a commercial for the football team all through interviews which led to his enrollment. Shame on our military leaders and government for their foolish selfishness… watching clips of Rumsfeld made me sick and watching Bush and McCain talk about Tillman as if they actually knew him made me even sicker. I didn’t know the man, but respect him to the fullest degree where I won’t assume what he is or where he is now that he’s dead. This film is a weapon and with quotes like “This war is just so fucking illegal” (Iraq – 2003), Pat Tillman’s ideas of what the military and government is supposed to be backfired and realized how wrong he was…

A piece this film also exposes are soldiers who knew Tillman who go through their reasons why they joined the military and the obvious truth for most – not all – is that they’re not doing it out of “patriotism,” they’re doing it for a better future and to have that license to shoot and kill which is pretty much encoded in every man’s DNA.

“I appreciate the support and words, but my brother’s not with God, he wasn’t even religious, he’s DEAD, he’s fucking DEAD!” – Kevin Tillman (At his brother’s wake while giving a speech to the media, military and Senator Prune-face McCain)

(SIGH) I’m done! I need a shower and some sleep! My head’s fucking killing me, but I had to let it out!

Fuck our government's hidden agendas!
____________________

GRADE: A+
GENRE: Documentary
ROARS: 5 Out of 5

RATED: N/R
RUN TIME: 1 Hr. 45 Min.

CAST: Various as themselves
DIRECTOR: Amir Bar-Lev

'Prinz' Lee Romero is a New York City native with Colombian and Puerto Rican roots. For years jumping from job to job, he could no longer suppress his love for film. Having given up contemplating it, he dove into some severe research and ventured out into the world of acting. Following a couple of years of training (The Actors Alliance NYC), auditions, booking jobs – which included bilingual voice-over work, his love of acting not only satisfied a certain desire, but also opened him up to other facets within the film business.

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