Monday, February 24, 2020

Paul Solet's documentary, TREAD, explores small-town life, paranoia, the patriarchy and -- possibly, probably -- an abuse of power

Back in June of 2004 an event occurred of such bizarre circumstance that you might have thought it would make near-worldwide news. It almost did, but by the next day, another event happened that wiped the earlier one off the news circuit completely. You'll find out about the former as the documentary entitled TREAD unfolds, but the latter event you'll learn of only at the end of this truly strange and generally riveting new film.

The fellow at the center of Tread is Marvin Heemeyer, shown below, right, with his then girlfriend, whom we see interviewed at length, along with a number of other of Heemeyer's friends, as well as some folk who were not, shall we say, in his corner. The movie itself is a mixture of well re-created events, archival footage and the usual talking-head interviews.

The picture of Mr. Heemeyer that emerges however, is a tricky one. Initially, he comes across as a guy just about everyone loved. By the finale you could hardly find a more paranoid nutcase. In between we learn how the former became the latter via everything from small-town politics, greed, envy, along with the usual combo of nature/nurture.

The publicity materials for the film give away the big event immediately. Interestingly enough, the movie itself does not. In fact, if you do not know what happened here, you will hang on more because of the picture the writer/director, Paul Solet, shown at right, paints of small-town America (Colorado in particular) and the character of this clearly talented, interesting, tormented man whom you see and hear slowly coming apart at the seams.

Following, TrustMovies thinks, the film's directive, I'll leave what happened for you to find out when you see the film. To call it merely amazing is not nearly enough. Mr. Heemeyer knew what he was doing and exactly how best to do it. He knew the people and the buildings and the town itself -- though not quite as well as he thought he knew all this (it turns out that few other townspeople knew, either).

The documentary is full of surprise, and it also carries the whiff of tragedy, a life hugely wasted, a town far too indebted to one powerful family, and yet another of mankind's bizarre ideas of "what god wants."  Released to VOD and Digital HD via Gravitas Ventures, Tread -- running 89 minutes -- will be available for purchase and/or rental this coming Tuesday, February 25. 

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