The Tilllman Story is a documentary based on the death of the U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman, filmed and directed by Amir Bar-Lev. Pat Tillman gave up a multi-million NFL contract to join the army, not because he wanted to be a hero, but because he felt the it was the right thing to do. His death in Afghanistan in 2004 brought more grief to his family that expected when the army used him for propaganda in something that simply seems inexplicable. But the army didn’t expect his family to retaliate and seek the truth behind their loved ones’ death.
It’s a unique story of a man so gifted with great physical talents who was living the dream of many playing professional football. Pat Tillman was in a position in life that many wish they could be in, but in a blink of an eye he gives it all away to join the military. The thought of having it all, a multi-million Dollar contract, and a successful life in sports didn’t matter to Pat. Pat didn’t join the army to be a hero; he joined because he believed that it was something he needed to do. As if he needed to do his part for the freedom we all enjoy on a daily basis.
It is surprising to find people who still share these ideals, Pat never looked for fame, he looked to be a part of something greater to feel like he was contributing something for his country. A noble thought from a noble man. However, following his death the military used his death for propaganda in something that just seems like it wouldn’t happen. The documentary is very emotional following the Tillman’s as they seek the truth behind Pat’s death. The conversation really goes in deep into the mind of each of the family members and their struggle through the tough ordeal. The conversations are emotional, powerful, and engaging. It’s a sad realization that our own government will take advantage of a family’s sorrow in order to gain propaganda. The man maybe gone, but his legacy and memory lives on.
The Tillman Story arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 1.78:1. From the earlier stages of the documentary you sort of get the idea of how the picture would look throughout. The film is basically two different pieces of video, the newly done interviews with family members/friends and the archival footage. The interviews look clear and pristine with natural looking colors, skin tones that look natural and lifelike, and black levels that are very stable. The archival footage features some color degradation along with some minor smudges. Nothing too drastic. Overall, The Tillman Story looks good on Blu-ray.
The Tillman Story arrives on Blu-ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. The film is dialogue heavy, meaning there’s very little to talk about. Since the main focus is the dialogue, the track makes sure to handle it without a problem delivering it clean and clear. There’s some music cues here and there that fill the soundstage, but the main focus of the film is the dialogue. Overall, the track should satisfy the listener as it features a very simple sound design.
Audio Commentary – featuring Director Amir Bar-Lev in another engaging and well spoken track. Bar-Lev simply goes over the theme of the documentary and what it was to work with the Tillman family.
Personally, I don’t exactly like to get involved with any documentaries that deal with political subjects. However, The Tillman Story wasn’t all about the political aspect, but also about a man with a noble cause and his personal belief of why he did what he did. The viewers are taken through the life of a fallen soldier, a son, a brother, and a husband in what is a very engaging documentary. The Blu-ray features a pair of good video and audio transfers that should satisfy the viewers. If documentaries are your thing then The Tillman Story should be on your must see list.