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A.V. Club

Movie Review: The gripping Tower highlights bravery in the face of horror

Whenever some deranged madman commits murder on a grand scale, we console ourselves by noting that such tragedies, even as they highlight the worst aspects of human nature, also reveal just how courageous and empathetic we can be at our best. That’s the deeply moving essence of Keith Maitland’s quasi-documentary Tower, an abstract, experiential reconstruction of what was arguably the first truly notable mass shooting in American history. (A few previous examples exist, but they don’t appear to have had the same galvanizing impact in the popular imagination.) All but ignoring former Marine Charles Whitman—who ascended to the top of a clock tower on the University Of Texas’ Austin campus and proceeded to shoot 49 people, killing 15 (one of whom was pregnant)—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 …

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