Parents' Guide to


By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Doc uses animation to tell intense story of 1966 shooting.

Movie NR 2016 81 minutes
Tower Poster Image

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Sadly, there are many documentaries about mass shootings, but few are as searing and groundbreaking as this one. Tower takes recollections by witnesses and survivors of the 1966 tragedy -- the first of its kind in modern times, some would say -- and renders them very effectively. The audience is brought as close to that horrific day as possible via eyewitness stories (read by actors), news footage, and, unusually, rotoscope animation.

The technique somehow heightens the immediacy of each passing moment, teasing out the tension and the monumental sadness and terror of those painful, 90 minutes when a gunman seized the college's clock tower and used it as a perch from which to rain down mayhem and murder. The sound of bullets firing constantly is near-traumatizing, making you feel like you're under assault. Though there's not much gore, the animated re-creations -- mixed with the voice overs, video footage, and photos -- serve as a reminder of the toll that mass shootings exact, and the heroism of those who were there that day.

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