The Review/Short Read/

One To Watch: Tower

A gripping new doc shines light on the heros and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting

Oct 14, 2016

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WHY TO WATCH: Why do you need to see Tower, now playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox? For the untold stories of the witnesses, heroes and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting. It's been 50 years since the University of Texas campus was rocked by a shooter in the bell tower, but the topic remains unfortunately relevant amidst headlines of present-day tragedies. And for it’s unique form. Tower merges archival footage and newly shot dramatic re-creations styled in black-and-white rotoscope animations, which as Richard Brody at The New Yorker describes, “the meticulously complex interweaving of styles turns the film into a horrifying true-crime thriller that’s enriched by a rare depth of inner experience.”


“By focusing on the survivors of evil instead of a perpetrator of it, and by using a daring style to do so, “Tower is one of the most essential films of the year.”

Brian Tallerico for

“Using a limited frame, Mr. Maitland does his own commemorating, inherently raising questions about terror, the nature of heroism and what it means to really survive. He also does something even more necessary: He turns names on a plaque into people.” -Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Maitland sticks close to the ground, providing a harrowing moment-to-moment account that foregrounds multiple acts of genuine heroism. The result comes as close to being a feel-good movie about senseless violence as anyone is likely to get.” -Mike D’Angelo, The AV Club

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