Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"Tower"


I remember, when I was in college at Portland State, reading about the 1966 Texas Tower sniper attack.  It seemed so tragic and unique - I'd never heard of anything like that before.  To my mind, it was the first mass murder in America by a lone gunman.

Now there is a wonderful 90%-animated feature film that takes me back to that tragic day, it's called "Tower", directed by Keith Maitland.

The film recreates that fateful incident using Bob Sebastian's patented rotoscope animation technique.  It was animated by Minnow Mountain, and it looks great.

They hired actors that looked like the original victims of the shooting spree, and had them recreate the dramatic scenes, then animators turned them in to drawn characters.  This way they were able to fill in a lot of gaps in the story that were never photographed, for obvious reasons.

I hosted a presentation of the film that included Keith Maitland and one of the shooting victims.  Fifty years later, this woman who was shot and lay on the tower entrance, unable to move because she was seriously wounded, and also 8 months pregnant, surprisingly has no grudge to bear against the shooter, Charles Whitman.  I couldn't believe it.  I figured she'd be so angry that she lost her baby and her boyfriend because of that madman. 

One of the problems I had with the film was that there was very little information about Charles Whitman, except that he loved guns and went on this rampage, after shooting his wife and mother.  So I didn't get to learn much about him, and why he did what he did.

I would also have liked to see an analysis of Texans' love of guns and how some of them they fight to support the NRA, even though the lives of so many people have been taken by these horrible weapons.

I encourage everyone to go see "Tower" - it's a very moving and emotional film - I give it a "B".

--Bill Plympton

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