31 January 2005 | Libretio
Gritty Vietnam-era drama invites critical accolades
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Dolby Digital
Louisiana, 1971: During basic training, a rebellious army conscript (Colin Farrell) causes dissension within the ranks.
Given Joel Schumacher's reputation as a schlockmeister par excellence, most critics were caught off-guard by this low-budget drama, filmed without any of the frills and fripperies normally associated with Hollywood blockbusters, and headlined by little more than obscure (but hugely experienced) character actors and talented newcomers, including Farrell, whose bravura performance launched him to international stardom. Far removed from the extravagant Vietnam-operas favored by Francis Ford Coppola and Oliver Stone, Schumacher's film examines the contradictions of war and the dehumanizing effect of combat on ordinary men through the experiences of Farrell's anti-hero, a compassionate man who despises the self-serving patriotic nonsense peddled by his superiors, and who refuses to compromise his own ideals, despite the sometimes painful repercussions of his disobedience.
Though backed by a major studio, TIGERLAND has the look and feel of a low-budget indie production, using hand-held camera-work and grainy film-stock for documentary effect, and this uncompromising 'Dogme'-like approach allows Schumacher to focus his attention on the characters and their situation rather than the pyrotechnics which usually dominate such movies. Farrell may be the star of the show, but he's matched by debut actor Matthew Davis (BLOODRAYNE) as his closest friend and fellow combatant, an aspiring writer who volunteered for duty and who favors intellect and reason over Farrell's reckless bravado. Fine supporting cast, excellent technical credits.