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Documentary Review: “Tread”

killdozer-og                                       Can you imagine having this beast bear down on you?

This is an interesting documentary about a truly bizarre incident that occurred in 2004 in a small town in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Marvin Heemayer, a middle aged businessman with a grudge against Granby and its principal citizens, went on a two hour rampage. Yet instead of going bughouse like most nuts in this country do nowadays with a high powered rifle alone, Heemayer, an admitted genius welder, took a heavy bulldozer, armored it with concrete reinforced steel plates, and then used the dozer to destroy businesses and the city hall. Although no life was lost other than Heemayer’s, he left a vast swathe of senseless destruction, permanently searing the memory of his basically pointless tantrum into Granby’s residents.

The doc’s first hour sets the stage for Heemayer’s onslaught, providing background as to why a highly skilled, relatively affluent man would do such a thing. A talented craftsman with a head for business, Heemayer made enough from his muffler shop in Granby to do as he liked: travel, hang out with his girlfriend, and most of all snowmobile, a winter past time he pursued with fanatical passion. Yet despite this apparently ideal, idyllic setup, resentment steadily built up as Heemayer became frustrated in his business dealings, increasingly more convinced the town’s good old boy network was in league against him. Most of this is conveyed by a voiceover of the long jeremiad Heemayer recorded just prior to going bananas with his homemade tank. Some might find this segment overlong and tedious, but it makes it plain the slights and wrongs Heemayer railed against largely existed in his mind alone. As one friend put it, “he spent too much time in the hot tub by himself.” The poor, deluded man basically hyped himself into believing God told him to do this terrible thing.

Even those who find the prologue overlong will still be amazed and appalled by the doc’s climactic footage. Resembling one of the crude behemoths that crashed through no man’s land in WWI, Heemayer’s bulldozer was basically unstoppable with small arms fire no more effective against it than BBs. He used the dozer blade to devastating effect, first destroying a concrete batch plant next to his own business, then City Hall, and finally a hardware store. It was an absolute wonder no one else was hurt, especially since the library was located in City Hall. Heemayer was incredibly ingenious, not only armoring the bulldozer, but installing loopholes to fire high powered, .50 caliber rifles, video cameras to assist him in steering, and a ventilation system to keep the viewing ports clear. What a shame all this cleverness was devoted to destruction. The frenzy only stopped when the bulldozer got stuck and ended as these things so often do with Heemayer killing himself.

I recommend this film to people with a clinical interest in human dysfunction and also (no shame) to guys like myself who are fascinated by armored vehicles and the damage they can do.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5807330/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://www.amazon.com/Tread-Marvin-Heemayer/dp/B083ZSTHTX/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=tread&qid=1589860233&sr=8-1

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