Watch Tower

"August 1, 1966, was the day our innocence was shattered."
  • TV-14
  • 2016
  • 1 hr 32 min
  • 7.9  (8,162)
  • 92

Tower is a gripping docudrama movie from 2016 directed by Keith Maitland that revisits the chilling events surrounding the mass shooting at the University of Texas at Austin on August 1, 1966. The movie is a unique blend of archival footage, eyewitness interviews, and rotoscope animation that creates an immersive and emotionally charged experience for the viewers.

The narrative centers around the experiences of several people who were present during the shooting, including Claire Wilson (Violett Beane), a pregnant student who was shot and lost her boyfriend Thomas Eckman (Cole Bee Wilson) during the attack, Ramiro Martinez (Louie Arnette), a police officer who led the charge against the shooter, and Monty Muir, a young journalist who covered the incident for the Austin Statesman.

The movie begins by establishing the tranquil and idyllic atmosphere of the University of Texas campus before the shooting begins. This juxtaposition of the peaceful college environment and the sudden explosion of violence creates an unsettling sense of dread that permeates throughout the movie. The audience is then introduced to Charles Whitman, the sniper who carried out the shooting, who is portrayed as a disturbed and unpredictable individual, haunted by his troubled past and unable to cope with his mental illness.

As the shooting commences, the movie adopts a frenetic and disorienting style that captures the chaos and panic of the situation. The use of rotoscope animation to recreate the events gives the movie a surreal and dreamlike quality that reinforces the idea that this horrific event was like a nightmare come to life. The movie also employs split-screen techniques to show the different perspectives of the characters, which adds to the tension and urgency of the situation.

The movie's emotional core lies in the portrayal of Claire Wilson and Thomas Eckman's story. Claire, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was shot in the stomach, causing her to lose her baby and almost die herself. Her boyfriend, Thomas, was shot and killed while trying to protect her. The movie captures the horror and anguish of their ordeal in a way that is both heart-wrenching and heartbreaking. Violett Beane's performance is particularly moving as she conveys the pain and trauma that Claire experiences with authenticity and empathy.

Monty Muir's character provides a different perspective on the tragedy. As a journalist covering the event, Monty is torn between his professional duty to report the news and his ethical responsibilities to the victims and their families. His journey from being an objective observer to an emotionally invested participant in the events that unfold is a compelling arc that gives the movie a sense of humanity and compassion.

Throughout the movie, there is a palpable sense of the aftermath of the shooting. The movie shows the long-lasting impact of the event on the survivors, the families of the victims, and the community at large. This is exemplified in the scene where a vigil is held for the victims, and hundreds of people gather together to mourn and pay their respects. The use of real-life footage from the time adds to the authenticity of the movie and makes it all the more poignant.

Tower is a masterful retelling of one of the darkest moments in American history. It is a movie that doesn't shy away from the horror and violence of the event but also shows its humanity and resilience in the face of tragedy. It is a testament to the power of cinema to create empathy and understanding and a tribute to the victims and their families who were forever changed by the events of that day.

Tower is a 2016 animated movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9 and a MetaScore of 92.

Where to Watch Tower
Tower is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Tower for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 32 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (8,162)
  • Metascore