I don’t know if I love Tower more because I see a lot of movies or because it is genuinely a great movie. Either way I loved it. Here is something completely different and powerful that really got to me. It’s perhaps the best message movie I’ve ever seen. It’s certainly up there.
Tower is set in 1966 when a sniper began shooting people from the bell tower at the University of Texas. For several hours the sniper shot people at will including a pregnant woman and a little boy delivering newspapers. All of these people we hear from but in the most unique way. Like any documentary the witnesses and victims are interviewed but it is mixed in with rotoscoped animation depicting the events of the day.
This wasn’t just a gimmick but a way to feel immersed in what was going on that could never be achieved through stale photos or live action reenactments. The rotoscoping felt stark and somehow made everything on a very surreal day seem even more so.
There are so many stories Tower tells but the most moving had to be a woman named Claire who is pregnant and left on the hot concrete bleeding. Most are fearful to go out in the open where the sniper will kill them to help her so she just lies on the concrete. Then a selfless act comes into play and it was very moving.
One interesting aspect is the victims had never really talked about the incident or dealt with it until the making of the film. It just shows what a different society it was back then. Now they would all be writing blogs and books but back then you kept your mouth shut on all trauma you experienced in life. I can’t imagine living like that. It is so different than my life!
I also liked how it wasn’t just hero fluff piece but a variety of responses. There is one woman who admits ‘I was a coward’ and then another amazing guy who basically becomes John McClane. He was incredible!
I wouldn’t be surprised if you see this on my top 10 list. It was so different and it really moved me. It’s been such a great year for documentaries but this is the one that took artistic risk and it really paid off. They do have a message about school shootings and violence today but to me it was powerful and given just the right amount of attention to not be over-bearing. It could have easily gone the propaganda route but it doesn’t.
If you get a chance to see Tower let me know what you think.
Overall Grade- A