"Excessive Humanist/Left-Wing Partisanship"
What You Need To Know:
THE TILLMAN STORY reveals a story of gross negligence as some over-zealous American soldiers kill one of their own and an over-zealous military hierarchy becomes anxious to put a happy face on two controversial wars. Beyond that, however, the movie doesn’t go anywhere. In fact, if anything, the movie seems to side with the Tillman family’s nihilistic, atheist, humanist attitude. Also, it suggests that most American servicemen are too macho and trigger-happy. Apparently, the filmmakers seem to have a few axes to grind. This diminishes the professional, objective integrity of their documentary. Documentary filmmaking in Hollywood has reached another low point.
(HHH, AbAbAb, APAP, PCPCPC, RH, LLL, VV, AA, D, MM) Very strong humanist worldview with pro-atheist words, religion is mocked, God is denied, and obscene language is extolled, American military leaders doing bad things are rebuked but movie also implies that serving in the military is not good because the leaders are bad and that American troops are too macho and trigger happy, plus some politically correct attacks on the Bush administration that seem to manipulate history a little bit to justify those attacks, though movie fails to prove anything about this in particular; at least 29 obscenities, two light profanities and two shots with obscene gestures; some light wartime violence and references; no sex scenes; no nudity; implied alcohol use in recounting of man’s life and his family; no smoking; and, government cover-up and lying but it is rebuked, nihilism expressed, and tragic untimely death is used for political purposes in movie.
THE TILLMAN STORY is a documentary about Pat Tillman, the professional football player whose death in Afghanistan in 2004 was misreported by Pentagon officials. The officials apparently hid the fact that Tillman was killed April 22, 2004 by friendly fire from the bottom of a small canyon while Tillman was going after some suspected Taliban insurgents near the top.
The documentary details the Tillman family’s crusade, led by Tillman’s mother Dannie, to learn the truth about their son’s death and to explode the fantasies about Tillman’s service. Regrettably, Tillman’s younger brother Rich gives an angry, obscenity-laced public statement at Tillman’s funeral protesting religious sentiments during the funeral.
“Pat isn’t with God; he’s (“f” word deleted) dead,” Rich says. “He wasn’t religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he’s fucking dead.”
Later, in an interview, Rich says that the “f” word was one of his brother’s favorite words.
A memo from General Stanley McChrystal reveals that the military knew really early that Tillman died from friendly fire. The general warns the Pentagon to tell officials in the Bush administration to be careful about what they say concerning how Tillman died. The movie suggests there was a cover-up after that because the military had already gone far to laud Tillman publicly as a fatally wounded hero who died while facing enemy fire. It blames the Bush administration for doing the same thing and suggests that, in reality, before he died Tillman became opposed to the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
THE TILLMAN STORY reveals a story of gross negligence as some over-zealous American soldiers kill one of their own and an over-zealous military hierarchy becomes anxious to put a happy face on two controversial wars. Beyond that, however, the movie doesn’t go anywhere. In fact, if anything, the movie seems to side with the Tillman family’s nihilistic atheist humanism, as represented by the foul-mouthed anti-religious vitriol coming from Tillman’s brother, who is rightfully upset about his brother’s sudden death. Ironically, the filmmakers fail to really explore this side of the family’s story, perhaps for fear of making the family look bad. If so, they may have made the same mistake that the military made.
Finally, the filmmakers use the tragic story of Tillman’s untimely death to suggest that American soldiers are too macho and too trigger-happy. It may be true that some, or even many, of America’s servicemen are susceptible to what is known among police circles (unfairly we might add) as “the John Wayne syndrome.” But, to indict most of America’s servicemen for being trigger-happy without any real research to back it up smacks MOVIEGUIDE® as an unsupported political smear, not as honest journalism. Tillman’s untimely death is indeed awful and appears to reflect a lack of proper training, but many Americans are getting tired of these left-wing smears against the country’s servicemen.
Thus, while one can applaud the attempt in this movie to expose an awful government cover-up, the filmmakers seem to let their politics get in the way of their reporting. They are obviously too close to the Tillman family to be objective.