Tower – Who Are You?

Rating (3 out of 5)

Summary: “Tower” documentary power lies in the exploration of what drives someone to be an on-looker versus a hero. You ponder which one you would be if you were thrust into this position. The short one hour show available now on Netflix explores how different individuals reacted to the sniper shooting in 1966 which resulted in the death of 16 people. Interviews are animated, mixed with real footage, and finalized with interviews with individuals much later in life. “Tower” is an easy watch and if you discover a free hour in your day, I would recommend watching this documentary.

Plot: On August 1, 1966 a loner sniper opened fire from the clock tower of the University of Texas, killing 16 people.

Detail: The director utilized a unique animation to reenact the drama of that day. They also animated the interviewees and have actors provide the voices for the characters to recreate a 1966 version of the character. The animated recreation, when combined with the actual footage from the day, creates an extremely powerful visual.

The power is in the difference in actions of the various people. For example, “Tower” explores the action of two policemen who arrived on the scene. One policeman, when he arrived on site jumped immediately to action and saved the day. The other policeman, fearing for his life, delayed interaction with the shooter. Though he ultimately assisted in the final conflict, for the remainder of his life he bore unbearable guilt. He thought if he had acted earlier, he could have saved another policeman. The comparison of two female students also demonstrated the polar opposite reactions to the shootings. One watched bodies die on the mall from the safety of her room, and another risked her life to help a pregnant woman.

Another striking attribute of the movie is many people haven’t seen each other since the day of the shooting. The impact of the day on each of the individuals is exceptionally different. One person has forgiven the shooter, one person acted but suffers guilt for not responding sooner, etc. From this documentary, you can imagine how varied the emotions must be for the survivors of the recent shootings.

Which one would you be if you are placed into the situation? I have been in some tough situations myself, and I always find it amazing how some people stand tall and others cower from a tough situation.