Director Paul Solet’s new film Tread documents the unbelievable true story of welder Marvin Heemeyer’s rampage in the small Colorado town of Granby. Through actual footage, re-enactments, Marvin’s taped confession and interviews with Granby locals we learn the whole story for the very first time. Once we see what led up to the events of June 4th, 2004 we have a better understanding of the man behind the armored vehicle.
After a decade of fighting with the town board over zoning laws for his business, Marvin finally reaches his breaking point and decides to take action. Behind closed doors he embarks on his mission of revenge by creating an un-penetrable metal beast to take down his adversaries. Tread highlights the actual voice recordings Marvin made as he shares his manifesto. The film also introduces the audience to both sides of the story with intimate interviews from Marvin’s loved ones along with those whom he had on his hit list. Paul directs the interviews both respectfully and gently allowing us a true glimpse into the heart and history of this beautiful mountain town. The film doesn’t focus on a specific side of the story, but rather on the slow crumbling of a once solid man.
Most of us remember this story as it unfolded before our eyes airing on every news station both domestic and international. We remember a crazed man driving through the small town with a makeshift dozer tank destroying buildings while shooting at police officers. Upon our first impression we assume that this man was either crazy or doped. We didn’t realize that we were witnessing a regular man unraveling. A man who after a decade of fighting the powers that be had finally reached his breaking point. A man whose cry for help went unheard as his delusions eventually led to a frightening reality. A man who unfortunately spiraled into history with the words and actions of a madman.
Tread takes us back to the beginning of the story. Back when all was well in Marvin’s world. He was beloved by those who knew him best. He was kind and helpful and happy. We meet him at the crossroads to the beginning of his end. First we are introduced to a nice, regular, nothing out of the ordinary man and then we meet his dark obsession with the insatiable need of having his voice heard. After ten years of being ignored Marvin decides to raise his voice through action. What most would understand as a mere passing thought, Marvin leaches onto his idea of revenge which inevitably morphs into the destructive attack.
The last half of the film takes us directly into that dreadful day through the eyes of those who were there. It is difficult to even fathom what it must have been like seeing this strange beast wreck havoc all across town. It is so bizarre trying to wrap one’s mind around the devastation displayed on screen knowing that it actually happened. There was so much more at risk than random buildings and businesses. So many lives were nearly caught in the crossfire. The heroism shown that day by both authorities and civilians is truly remarkable.
Even though Marvin’s actions are those of a madman his words are those of broken man:
“Maybe what happens here, maybe you’ll remember that.” … “You picked on the wrong man.” … “For as good as a man can be also can he be as bad?” … “When you visit evil upon someone be assured that it will revisit you.” … “Beaten to a point where I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Marvin was pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. Then one day instead of just walking away Marvin decided to push back. Everyone has a breaking point. Tread is a cautionary tale of one man’s dissolution into rage.