What makes a coward? What makes a hero?
It is 1966. We are at the University of Texas in Austin. It is just before noon. There is a man on the top deck of the clock tower. He has brought an assortment of firearms and rounds. He is shooting people walking below. Over a dozen will die and many more will be damaged for life. And for the next 96 minutes everyone near the scene or listening on the radio will be captivated by this killer. It was the first mass shooter in America.
The documentary known as Tower is a unique experience. Most of the movie is presented through a technique called rotoscoping. Which means that actors are used as the models for the animation. The animation looks like real people.
The rotoscoping allows the filmmakers to accomplish many things. One is that they can recreate the elements of the time period when the event takes place without having to supply the cars, storefronts, clothes, etc. of the time. But it is not just the visuals. The movie is told through interviews of people that were there. In other words, there is no main narrator telling the viewer about the day. We get to experience the events as they unfold in the place and time of the University of Texas right below the clock tower with a shooter. It is also interspersed with actual footage, photos and the real people that were there.
The movie is captivating as it explores the story-lines of a pregnant student, a store clerk, a paperboy and others.
It is quite an affecting experience as we watch people who are literal strangers look past their fears to act in ways that put their own lives at risk.
It is a must see.