Tillman Story: Finally, Truth
Goes beyond death, cover-up to look at Tillman's remarkable life
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2010 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Tillman Story is a powerful documentary that takes a scathing look at the military's cover-up of the NFL star-turned-soldier's death by friendly fire in Afghanistan, critics say, but its real power lies in its look at Pat Tillman as the complex and remarkable man he was, instead of as a victim or as a legend.

  • Viewers learn that "Tillman was never accurately portrayed, not by politicians nor the media, neither in life nor in death," Claudia Puig writes at USA Today. Director Amir Bar-Lev "paints a moving portrait of Tillman, mostly through the insightful comments of his family and fellow soldiers, who collectively struggled to find and reveal the truth."

  • This "morally incisive" documentary "unravels the deceptions—and the deep dishonor—that inflated life-size valor into fake superheroism," writes Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly.
  • The Tillman Story offers "a sobering look at how governments operate in wartime, putting a shiny spin on even the grimmest of tragedies," Christopher Kelly writes at the Dallas Morning News. It deserves to be seen, he writes, though its standard mix of stock footage and talking heads might make it better suited for the small screen.
  • Michael Moore has endorsed this documentary but that's no reason to avoid it, argues Gary Thompson at the Philadelphia Daily News. The movie "probably inflates military incompetence, opportunism, and butt-covering into a sinister conspiracy," he writes "but it also stands as a valuable piece of biography" that sheds light on Tillman's fascinating life and "ferociously independent" character.