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The Tillman Story: Debunking the myth-making of the U.S. military

• Ann Hornaday
In an otherwise slack season at the movies, "The Tillman Story" emerges as the summer's first true must-see film, required viewing for everyone, but especially audiences in Washington. Because even though Pat Tillman's personal story began in California, took him to Arizona and tragically ended in Afghanistan in 2004, the Tillman story writ large has everything to do with this city, its obsession with power and perceptions.

When Tillman enlisted in the Army in 2002, he gave up a lucrative contract with the NFL, an act that was celebrated at the time for its selflessness and courage. Two years later, as an Army Ranger, he was killed in Afghanistan in an episode initially described as a Taliban ambush; the former Arizona Cardinals player was awarded a posthumous Silver Star, and his funeral drew thousands, including Sen. John McCain and California first lady Maria Shriver.

Weeks later, the Army revealed that Tillman's death was "probably" the result of fratricide. But by that time, the military and Bush administration's narrative of Tillman's life and death had taken on a life of its own, its mythology increasingly at odds with the truth known by his closest family and friends. In "The Tillman Story," filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev spins a fascinating, shattering and finally appalling story of his own as he deconstructs the official story -- a "comfortable fable," as one observer calls the government's version of events -- and leads viewers on an absorbing search for the truth of Tillman's death and its subsequent coverup.

3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
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Saw it last night.  Well worth taking your family to.

Comment by Ed Vallejo
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CORRECTION: That should read 7001 E. Highland Avenue in Scottsdale.


Comment by Ed Vallejo
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We'll be seeing this as a Group this evening at the Camelview 5 Theater at 7001 E. Camelback in Scottsdale.  We're set to meet in the lobby at 7:15 p.m. for the 7:30 showing.




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