Second Sight: Tread: A Riveting Docudrama Now Streaming on Netflix

Power is a concept that is crucial to understanding the way the world works but is often ignored in smaller concentrations. We love to hear stories about underdogs taking on multinational corporations with legal departments and millions of dollars at their disposal to throw at our heroes, but power is often overlooked in the context of city councils, city planners and zoning laws. And Marv Heemayer of Granby, Colorado was convinced these powers were coming for him.

Marv was a highly skilled welder who owned a muffler shop in Granby with plans to expand into the properties near him. After purchasing a small lot adjacent to the one he already owned, Marv found himself in a legal battle with the city, who required him to make significant changes to the property in order to use it which Marv was unable to make. The docudrama format intends to shift our sympathies from Marv, to the city he would destroy as the situation unfolds. We hear Marv’s recordings he made before his infamous actions, where he rambles about his God ordained quest to do this.

His tapes serve both to paint Marv as clearly losing his mind, but they also are carefully curated to show Marv’s intense tunnel vision. He truly believes that he was called to do this, and that he had no other option. He talks about how long he has planned this, and how at every step he felt encouraged by God to keep going. Destroying his enemies became a righteous quest for redemption. He felt that the established families in the town had built a suit of armor around themselves with sewage codes, and city council ruling, and that he was justified to do the same for himself.

Although you can’t help but feel bad for Marv. He was a tortured soul, one who’s friend said “spent too much time alone.” His paranoia consumes him to such a degree that his only way he could see out and justify it was to take a bulldozer downtown and destroy everything he could.

Perhaps the greatest part of the film was the archival footage taken that day of Marv in his bulldozer. Watching Marv’s creation rolling right through buildings, over cars like they were made of tin foil, and surviving everything SWAT and police were throwing at it was a sight to behold. The film emphasized at length how skilled of a craftsman Marv was, and his masterpiece is something to behold. Stream it from Netflix for that footage alone, but watch it for an emotional journey as well.
-Patrick Bernas