Film and TV

The Tillman Story Chronicles a Family's Search for the Truth

The Tillman Story, a documentary about the death of former Arizona Cardinal and Army Ranger Pat Tillman, opens in Los Angeles and New York City today.
The film, directed by Amir Bar-Lev (My Kid Could Paint That), chronicles the Tillman family's search for the truth about Pat's death in the Middle East on April 22, 2004. Initial reports from the military painted Tillman as a hero who'd died in a blaze of enemy gunfire. But five weeks later, it was revealed that Tillman had actually been killed by "friendly fire" from his own platoon.

While making the documentary, which is narrated by Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex), Bar-Lev filmed interviews with Pat Tillman's mother, Dannie, his father Patrick Sr., his widow, Marie, and men who served in the military with Pat. It chronicles the family's unrelenting search for the truth, particularly his mother Dannie, who spent countless hours uncovering what was hidden beneath all the redacted black marks on the official investigation documents given to her by the military.

(More movie details and the official trailer after the jump ...)

In press materials for the film, Bar-Lev says, "The story that initially attracted us -- that of a football player who gave up his career to join the military and was tragically killed -- turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg."

The Tillman Story
has been hailed by our own Village Voice Media film critic Melissa Anderson as an "assiduous, furious documentary" that exposes "a system of arrogance and duplicity that no WikiLeak could ever fully capture."

For Bar-Lev, the biggest challenge in making the film was trying to explain how Pat Tillman was killed. "Even his mother is left with more questions than answers, and she's spent more than six years trying to get to the bottom of what happened that day," Bar-Lev says. "My hope is that at the very least, we've cast serious doubt on the notion that Pat was killed in a kind of tragic 'fog of war'-type accident. This is a widespread misconception that has been deliberately cultivated by the military."

The Tillman Story opens nationwide on September 3.