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From June 2001
Film Review

The Dishother May releases

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TIGERLAND
4 Stars- Recommended

Bozz gets carpeted again in Tigerland

Grabbing the tiger by the tail

STARS: Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Collins Jr, Thomas Guiry, Shea Whigham
DIRECTOR: Joel Schumacher
SCREENPLAY:
Ross Klavan, Michael McGruther
CERTIFICATE: 18 • DISTRIBUTOR and Image copyright: 20th Century Fox
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 41mins
OPENING DATE (UK): May 18

Many fine films have been made about the Vietnam War, but far more have been hackneyed and cliché-ridden so that the genre has sunk into a kind of cinematic disrepute. Which makes Tigerland a remarkable film, all the more so for the raw visual style adopted by Hollywood’s prince of glossy (and overtly commercial) cinema, Joel Schumacher.

The man who brought us Flatliners, Falling Down and Batman Forever has reinvented himself completely with this gritty and intense drama, but there is more to its appeal than mere novelty.

Set in 1971 at Fort Polk, Louisiana, the story follows the steady flow of young men who are introduced to the brutal realities of war there, before they are shipped off to fight in a far off land, in a conflict with no rules for a purpose no one seems too clear on. Fort Polk is ‘Tigerland’, a place with an impressive track record for transforming its inductees into hardened soldiers.

There is always one who fails to conform though, and in this place at this time it is Private Roland Bozz (Farrell), a first class pain in the backside to his superiors and a hero to his colleagues in the barracks. If you want to get out of the army then Bozz is your man; if you want an inspirational figure who will stand up to the dehumanizing nature of military life, then Bozz is your man. If you want a cool, cynical but honest voice of reason amid all this madness, then, well you can guess.

Set up like a cross between Robert E Lee Prewitt and Cool Hand Luke, a real rebel with a cause, Bozz has a keen intelligence to his scheming. Irish actor Colin Farrell delivers a riveting performance in the role, and could become a major film star on the evidence of his efforts here. His contribution to the film is immense, but Tigerland is more than just a one man show. The supporting cast seem so utterly real, Matthew Libatique’s dizzying hand held camera makes you feel you are there and the script written by Ross Klavan and Michael McGruther smacks of real life. But perhaps the most praise should be reserved for Schumacher, a director who stepped off the Hollywood merry-go-round and has made the finest film of his career as a result.

Anwar Brett

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Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction.

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THE TERRORIST May 11
VERY ANNIE-MARY May 25