Pat Tillman's family says "fuck" a lot. And who can blame them? Pat's youngest brother, at the memorial service for the fallen NFL-star-turned-soldier, follows Maria Shriver's "Pat is with God now" rhetoric with, "Pat would want me to say this: He's not with God, he's fucking dead." A year later, Pat Tillman Sr. writes a blistering letter to the military brass who continued to stonewall the investigation into his son's death signed, "Fuck you…and yours." Such is the seething flavor of director Amir Bar-Lev's The Tillman Story (open today at select theaters), which paints a striking portrait of Pat Tillman's devoted and outraged family's search for the truth behind his death in eastern Afghanistan in April 2004.
The footage and documentation do perhaps more than either Tillman book (one by his mother, the other by Jon Krakauer, telling Tillman's wife's story) to walk through the life and death of the country's highest profile war-fighter. For not only do we get the emotions and efforts of the entire clan (Krakauer didn't speak with his mom, for example) but we see what unfolded in pictures, whether it's home video of Pat's Ranger outfit, rugged footage taken the day after he was killed, or evidence of the reams of redacted documents his mother pored over for years—only to be served up an anemic congressional oversight hearing.