It's official! A 2020 documentary called "Tread" that covers the "Colorado Killdozer" story has hit Netflix.
Opening with a scene of panic and destruction, Tread succeeds in digging far beneath the surface of the Marvin Heemeyer story, finding answers to questions often overlooked in the discussion of the infamous “Colorado Killdozer” rampage.
With a formal release date of February 28, 2020, Tread is a documentary that covers a man dubbed the “Colorado Killdozer,” also known as Marvin Heemeyer. Pushed to his breaking point by decisions made by the local government that he deemed to be unfair, Heemeyer fortified a bulldozer with concrete and steel before using it to unleash his fury on his small Colorado town.
In short, this film is worth watching. Here’s why:
From interviews with eye-witnesses to reenactments with a high-budget feel, this movie does an excellent job of detailing what led up to the fateful events of June 4, 2004, continuing to capture the raw emotion of that day.
Often, when the Heemeyer story is discussed, his “fans” come out of the woodwork to cast him as a praised anti-hero, once a reasonable man that was pushed to a point where he did unreasonable things. This reaction is often met with a counter-reaction of those denouncing Heemeyer for his crimes, which included plowing his bulldozer into a public library and firing incendiary rounds from a high-powered rifle at large propane tanks with a senior citizens’ home, a trailer park, and a residential area in the potential blast radius.
The film does a great job of toeing this line between normal man and villain – showing the very real pains that Marvin Heemeyer faced, while also condemning him for how he reacted.
Throughout the first half of the movie, Heemeyer is humanized. His snowmobiling buddies are interviewed. His former lover shares stories of their best moments together on the screen. He’s referenced as a valued member of his local community. This humanization occurs simultaneously with a description of the ‘wrongs’ against Heemeyer, begging the viewer to sympathize with the repeated struggles he faced.
The second half of the movie turns to Heemeyer’s reaction. It details each move he made during his rampage, often followed by additional detail from those trying to stop him. Between real footage, sophisticated graphics, and vivid recreations, Tread makes following the timeline of that day a cinch.
By the end of the movie, Heemeyer had me asking exactly what he predicted I would ask in chilling cassette tape recordings that he left behind: “People will say, ‘Why did he do that? He had such a good life.”
In Marvin’s words, his actions shouldn’t be considered too surprising: “For as good as a man can be, also can he be as bad.”
Currently, the film has a 7.1/10 rating on IMDb and a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If you're someone that enjoys learning about Colorado's history, it's worth the watch. For additional information about this story, find eye-witness Patrick Brower’s book about that day here.