You may think this is a Richard Linklater film because of how it looks and the Austin location, but that is where the parallels end. In 1966, ex-Marine Charles Whitman made his way up the University of Texas Tower with a cache of firearms and began to indiscriminately shoot at people.
Tower is a different kind of film. It doesn't focus on the killer or even the slow trek towards his murderous day. The focus is that day alone and the victims, along with the varied perspectives of the many witnesses. Reality is further altered by a technique called rotoscoping which was used in both Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, two very different type of films & tones. It works to Towers advantage in giving a little distance between the murders that day fused with a dreamy quality.
Does art lamenting on horrible acts make them easier to process or does heighten what's happened? With regular mass shootings in the US on an almost monthly schedule, it's seem just downright perverse. Even the mash-up of art and serial killers give me a bad feeling in my stomach. When that ache stops, I'll know I've been desensitized. I will need to smoke a bowl, recalibrate my soul and settle in with a steady diet of The Marx Brothers for a while.