Monday, April 19, 2010

The McVeigh Tapes

I just finished watching the documentary The McVeigh Tapes on the Rachel Maddow Show. The two-hour program is, in one word, disturbing.

The documentary centers on recordings of Timothy McVeigh’s interviews with reporter Lou Michel, where McVeigh discusses his bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Using the recordings of McVeigh and commentary from reporters, investigators and bombing victims, the documentary goes through McVeigh’s personal history, the planning and execution the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the aftermath of the bombing, both for McVeigh and the victims.

When McVeigh bombed the Federal Building on April 19, 1995, I was six and completely sheltered from what happened. Though I’ve learned the basics of what happened, it’s always been in a paragraph or two in a textbook. Seeing the visuals of the bombing, hearing the voice of the killer hits you in a different way. Watching this documentary made me fully understand that the attack was real.

What struck me the most was the lack of remorse McVeigh felt. He completely writes off any lives that were lost and maintains that it was worth it to get his anti-government message across.

The subject matter makes it difficult for me to give an accurate, unbiased review of the documentary as a whole, but I’m going to give it a go. The McVeigh Tapes is interesting, but manages to avoid being sensational. As I said earlier, it is disturbing, and is certainly not “enjoyable” to watch, but the tone fits the topic. I have one minor complaint; many of the visuals of the documentary are re-enactments where CGI is used to put in McVeigh’s face. Though I’m not sure what else they would use for images, as many of the actions portrayed were not recorded, I found the CGI face distracting.

I give The McVeigh Tapes a 4/5. Though I wouldn’t recommend the documentary unless the Oklahoma City Bombing is of particular interest to you, The McVeigh Tapes is well done and informative. I’m glad I watched it, even though it’s left me feeling depressed and off-balance.

Watch Jon Stewart's interview with Rachel Maddow

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