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The Tillman Story

DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Pat Tillman gave up his multimillion-dollar NFL career to join the military and fight in Afghanistan, only to be killed in unclear circumstances. His death was seized upon by the Bush administration as a testimony to patriotism--so it was a jolt to Tillman's family when the official story was discredited and a harsher truth revealed. Most families, stunned by grief, would have let this go. The Tillman family didn't. The Tillman Story follows this dogged, determined, outspoken family as they fight to uncover what really happened and who was responsible for their son being twisted from a thoughtful young man to a one-dimensional political icon. The portrait of incompetence, error, and deceit that emerges will shock and disturb. Skillfully woven together from interviews and media footage, The Tillman Story draws suspense, anguish, and even bursts of dark but bracing humor from this tragedy. Pat Tillman, who never wanted his motivation for enlisting to be made public, comes through as unexpectedly complex, kind and insightful, brash and forthright, and deeply deserving of the devotion so clearly demonstrated by his family and friends. This documentary is riveting throughout, but the most crucial moment comes before a congressional hearing that exonerated Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other top brass (all of whom claimed ignorance of an incriminating memo), when Mary Tillman--Pat's mother--makes a brave and heartbreaking statement. The Tillman Story is worth watching for this moment alone. --Bret Fetzer

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, angry, and moving Oct. 13 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Quite extraordinary documentary dealing with the emotional and
intellectual issues around famous American football star Pat Tillman's
death in Afghanistan and the subsequent Army cover-up. A film of
insight, humanity, and righteous anger, but it never feels manipulative
of the people or facts involved.

Like Tillman himself, it avoids simplistic answers and tries to look
deeper. This isn't a propaganda piece, but a complex study of a
family's grief, and how powerful organizations like the US Army
sometimes put their own image ahead of human honesty and decency.

Tillman himself emerges as a highly complex man - someone who didn't go
off to war looking for glory, and indeed, tried actively just to be
treated like any other soldier - a desire the Army refused to honor,
even in death (Tillman had specifically, in writing. requested not to
have a military funeral should he die in war, but the Army tried to
bulldoze the family into one for public relations purposes).

He believed the Afghanistan war was a righteous cause, but politically
disagreed with the decision to go to war with Iraq, all the while fighting with
honor and distinction. He was an atheist who respected and was curious
about all religions, and whose public memorial was co-opted by public
figures invoking the name of God, until finally his little brother - in
an act of slightly drunken bravery - stood up to tell them all that
wasn't who Pat was.
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