More often then not documentaries tend to pick a side in the subject they’re exploring. It gives the audience perspective, the filmmaker a launching point and the film structure. What’s both interesting and damning about the abortion doc "After Tiller" is it’s unflinching no holds barred look at the subject matter and how in doing so both sides of the argument are then given their due with disturbing effect.
Dr. George Tiller, a doctor known for openly providing third-trimester abortions, was assassinated in May of 2009. Since his murder there are now only four doctors left who follow in his footsteps and continue to perform this controversial procedure.
"After Tiller" explores the lives of the last four remaining doctors – from their continued harassment by pro-life folks to their own struggles with the work they do. On the one had it’s compelling to watch the compassion and personal fervor these physicians have. Their capacity for empathy for both mother and fetus is quite remarkable and none take the work they’re doing lightly. On the other hand its pretty unsettling stuff, especially as we see the inner turmoil that each of the doctors feel about the controversial procedures they’re performing. In that sense "After Tiller" as a doc looses some of it’s power as a film somewhat afraid to take a stance unlike the subjects so eloquently portrayed within. I get that filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson most likely wanted to document the events without bias or personal opinion, but in being so complacent I would be lying if I didn’t say some of the power of the piece gets lost.
What does hit home here is the affect that the bold Dr. Tiller had on both these doctors and the whole subject of third-trimester abortions. His passion, determination and unwavering sympathy was an inspiration no matter what side of the fence your on - we should all be so lucky to have someone like that in our corner.
"AFTER TILLER" OPENS IN SELECT THEATRES OCT. 4 FROM OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES.