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With Jim Sabatini

The Tillman Story

The Tillman Story

Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 20, 2010 Released by: The Weinstein Company

Documentarian Amir Bar-Lev (My Kid Could Paint That) knows how to dress up old clips and interviewees into something riveting and enraging. He does it on a broader canvas with The Tillman Story.

Pat Tillman, Jr. stepped away from a large contract with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals to do what he felt was right, never putting himself on some kind of heroic platform. The tragic events of 9/11 made him and younger brother Kevin become Army Rangers without notifying his family until after his wedding. Seeing Operation Iraqi Freedom first-hand really opened his eyes to a fateful decision of signing on for a second tour of duty.

Corporal Tillman's demise on April 22, 2004 in a rugged, steep canyon in the line of duty would come from "friendly fire" squad members some forty yards in the distance. The idea of military and media skulduggery of using his killing as pro-war propaganda is incisively formulated into a probing potboiler.

Obviously, Pat's Northern California family weren't the kind of folks to remain silent as truth of a suspicious death is leaked out in where awful (high-ranking) obstacles were concerned. Besides moving words from Pat's closest soldiers during his last moments, Russell Baer and Bryan O'Neal, much candor is provided from Pat Sr., mother Dannie, and youngest brother Richard.

Advertising of an on-going conflict is manifested through wanton reporting and a Presidential administration trying to spin things in the right direction after the WMDs bungling.

Bar-Lev's well-crafted, clearly researched and revelatory account gravitates to a House And Oversight Committee hearing three years ago. The surviving Tillmans witness testifying regarding a "P4" memo by those who include Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, General Abizaid, General Bryan Brown and General Richard Myers. The Tillman Story unfolds with startlingly realism and poignancy especially for those who only follow the headlines. It may not do justice to a fallen football star and patriot, underlining the theatrics and more in his story.

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