SXSW 2019 – Review: TREAD Is A Documentary With An Unusual Story

FIRST IMPRESSION

Tread starts out rather weakly with an opening 45 minutes that feels unnecessary. It crushes once it gets moving, though.
Directing
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

Tread is a new documentary from director Paul Solet. The film tells the story of Marvin Heemeyer who in 2004 went on a rampage in Granby, Colorado in a bulldozer fortified with steel and concrete and armed with weapons to right the wrongs committed against him. It debuted at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

The story of the movie is definitely a crazy one. The fact that an everyday guy actually bought a bulldozer and fortified it that heavily without anyone realizing is truly astonishing. Even crazier is the fact that this story isn’t super well-known. On one hand, this is a good thing because that means the results weren’t too tragic. However, it is still an extreme incident of domestic terrorism about which the public should be more aware.

Interestingly, the film decides not to paint Heemeyer in a way that is villainizing him. Although this is perhaps a more fair perspective from a journalistic standpoint, we probably don’t want to be making a terrorist out to be sympathetic. Thankfully, the movie does not present his actions in a positive light, but the film does look at Heemeyer as if he is the victim.

The pacing of the movie is somewhat inconsistent. The second half of the film is where the action occurs, and as a result, the first half of the movie is extremely slow. It’s really hard to get into the film’s earlier portion, although the latter part is absolutely crazy and worth the ride. The movie almost would have made a better short than a feature, as that would have allowed it to cut out the fluff.

The first half of the film is the part that isn’t interesting. Part of what makes it uninteresting is that it is largely based on speculation. The movie is trying to guess what the mindset of Heemeyer leading up to the situation was, and there is no way to know this with certainty. It almost feels like the film is sensationalizing the lead-up to the attack.

The second half of the movie, which is devoted to an exploration of the actual attack, is super intense. Your heart will be pounding non-stop through this portion of the film, as events continue to escalate and suspense continues to build. Since this isn’t a particularly well-known story, many viewers likely won’t know what is going to happen.

On a technical level, the movie is well-done for what it is. Reenactment documentaries are often frustrating. Obviously, there isn’t footage of Heemeyer’s preparation, but you don’t have to use actors to reenact it to show it to the audience. Find another method of storytelling that doesn’t add a layer of theatrics to the film. People who aren’t bothered by reenactments will likely find this movie to be great, though, as it is otherwise well-made.

Overall, Tread was a solid documentary. The second half is much better than the first, but the story is so crazy that it is something you need to see to believe.

Tread debuted at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Becoming John Brown w/ Ethan Hawke | The Good Lord Bird

Ethan Hawke shares his experience of playing abolitionist, John Brown. Starring Ethan Hawke & Joshua Caleb Johnson. Watch the premiere on Sunday, October 4 at 9/8c on SHOWTIME. #SHOWTIME #TheGoodLordBird Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: https://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: https://s.sho.com/33FGC1D Get more SHOWTIME: Follow: https://twitter.com/Showtime Like: https://www.facebook.com/showtime…

The End of The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead’s final epic chapter. The Expanded Season 11 begins 2021. Watch from The Walking Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFW4F9BGYQg&list=PLC7EC9FB2E211A261&index=6&t= Subscribe to The Walking Dead on YouTube: https://goo.gl/Tu5rSx #TWD #TWDSeason11 #TheWalkingDead THE WALKING DEAD: Like The Walking Dead on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC/ Follow The Walking Dead on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WalkingDead_AMC Visit The Walking Dead Official Site: https://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead Sign Up…

Best Scenes in The Babysitter & The Babysitter: Killer Queen | Netflix

Cole's hyped about the babysitter, and you should be too! These are all the funniest, craziest, most memorable moments from The Babysitter and its sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen. Watch The Babysitter: Killer Queen, only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81012366 SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships…

Song Exploder | Official Trailer | Netflix

Song Exploder, based on the hit podcast, spotlights some of the world's greatest musicians as they reveal how they brought one of their songs to life. Featured artists include Alicia Keys, Lin-Manuel Miranda, R.E.M. and Ty Dolla $ign. Song Exploder premieres globally on October 2. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming…

Get Ready for the 2020 Election w/ THE CIRCUS | SHOWTIME

The 2020 presidential election is nearing, Trump and Biden’s campaigns are in full swing, and THE CIRCUS has the coverage, interviews, and analysis you need as you prepare to vote. Watch new episodes on Sundays at 8/7c on SHOWTIME. Subscribe to THE CIRCUS YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/gfoZtd #SHOWTIME #SHOCircus Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib…

Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth | Official Trailer | HBO

The rise and fall of a beloved shock jock. Wild Card: The DownFall of a Radio Loudmouth premieres October 7 at 9 pm on HBO and HBOMax. #HBO #HBODocs #WildCardHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Stream on HBO Max: http://itsh.bo/hbo-max Get More HBO Official Site: https://itsh.bo/dotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/HBODocs Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hbo Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hbodocs Wild Card:…

Industry: Official Teaser | HBO

Do not forget how this feels right now. Industry premieres November 9 on HBO and HBO Max. #HBO #IndustryHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Industry is an exhilarating dive into the world of international finance, as seen through the eyes of ambitious twenty-somethings struggling to secure their futures. The series follows a group of…

‘Cartoon Trump & Biden’s Dueling Town Halls’ Ep. 311 Cold Open | Our Cartoon President

Addressing undecided voters before the election, Cartoon Trump talks climate disaster, Black Lives Matter protests, and migrant sterilization with Cartoon George Stephanopoulos while Cartoons Anderson Cooper and Kamala Harris try to reign in Cartoon Joe Biden. Watch new episodes of Our Cartoon President on Sundays at 8:30/7:30c on SHOWTIME. #OurCartoonPresident Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here