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Film / Tower (2016)

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When the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.
Tower is a 2016 documentary directed and produced by Keith Maitland, which discusses the 1966 University of Texas tower shooting.

This documentary is a really interesting one that's hard to describe. Most of the movie is told via flashbacks using actors to portray the people at the incident. The film is practically shot like a fictional movie with interviews spliced in. About 90% of the movie is in with mostly black and white rotoscope animation (similar to A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life), with the other 10% being archive footage shot during the shooting. The film also shows the people at the incident and what they were thinking of. The documentary explores themes such as bystander syndrome, fear of dying, sacrifices, bravery, and acceptance.

The film started production in 2006 and didn't go anywhere until a successful Indiegogo campaign where it received $70,000 in six weeks.

The film was critically acclaimed, winning some awards such as the SXSW Grand Jury Award.


This film provides examples of:

  • Bystander Syndrome: Averted. A few of the students sees a pregnant woman having just been shot by Charles Whitman and risk their lives to save her.
  • Death of a Child: Claire Wilson's unborn baby boy was killed when she was sniped in the abdomen by Whitman.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Most of the movie is in black and white due to having to match up with the black and white archive footage.
  • Deranged Animation: When Claire Wilson is dying from blood loss after being shot, her dying fantasies are this.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite essentially shooting her boyfriend and causing her baby to die, Claire Wilson still forgives Whitman to this day.
  • The Ghost: Charles Whitman is never seen in person in order to mirror what the people below him where thinking of during the shooting. The only time we see him is a photo of him as a baby.
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  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never see Charles Whitman in person, nor do we know of his motives. This makes the situation even more haunting.
  • Rotoscoping: The reenactments are portrayed with rotoscoped animation.
  • Splash of Color: Rita Starpattern's orange hair, though it shifts into grey depending on the tone.


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