Tigerland Movie Review

As it turns out, war can be hell even if you never leave home.

Joel Schumacher, director of some of the worst films in a generation (8MM, Batman & Robin, Batman Forever), redeems himself with his first really good flick since Falling Down in 1993. A tale of army recruits in their final days of training before heading to Vietnam in 1971, Tigerland is an original and modestly powerful anti-war film that never even goes "in country."

The film revolves around a recruit named Bozz (Colin Farrell, Croupier) who is trying everything in his power to get out before he's shipped out. He refuses to participate in basic training, talks back to his superiors, and undermines his fellow recruits' gung ho attitudes with his sly, pacifist talk. Notably, Bozz's closest friend Paxton (Matthew Davis, Urban Legends: Final Cut) is looking forward to "the experience" of serving in 'Nam, unafraid and ready for duty, and while Paxton's resolve starts to crumble, Bozz finds his inexplicably coming back around.

Eschewing the theatrics of his Batman sagas, Schumacher relies on an understated documentary style, largely using handheld cameras and seemingly improvised scenarios. To some extent, this works well, putting the viewer in the action, headed to Tigerland (the very last training stop before Vietnam) on the bus along with the platoon. But on another level, the whole film feels a little cheap, like Schumacher went into the woods behind his house with a machete and a Handicam and figured he could make a movie right there as a weekend project. As a result, the picture doesn't look or feel overwhelmingly authentic, and the connection with the viewer is broken. (In the end, it's apparent the film has been shot the way it was simply for budget considerations, which was reportedly less than $10 million.)

Farrell in particular is a standout among the virtually all-male cast, though he doesn't shine bright enough to outdo some of 2000's virtuoso performances like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. The ensemble as a whole is smashing, and the story as written by Ross Klavan and Michael McGruther is a standout among this year's lackluster scripts. Too bad the film couldn't have kept the energy level on an even keel throughout the production, but hey, wars -- and movies -- are hell.

Hold that tiger.

Comments

Tigerland Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2000

Advertisement

More Colin Farrell

Watch Kate Mara & Ellen Page As "Terrible" 'Tiny Detectives' In 'True Detective' Parody [Video]

Kate Mara and Ellen Page parody HBO's True Detective and their own short statures in a new Funny or Die video.Kate Mara at New York...

So, "True Detective" Season 2 Will Star Colin Farrell And Vince Vaughn. Who's Next?

Another one of those True Detective rumours has been confirmed – Vince Vaughn has indeed signed on for a part in the show’s second season....

Finally, We've Got a Plot for 'True Detective' Season 2 (and Vince Vaughn)

After months of rumors, speculation and a drip-feed of information for Nic Pizzolato and individuals connected with HBO, we've finally got some solid information on...

Vince Vaughn And Colin Farrell Confirmed As Stars Of 'True Detective' Season 2

After months of speculation and rumours, Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell have finally been announced as the leading men in the second season of HBO's...

Advertisement

Colin Farrell Confirms He's In 'True Detective' Season 2, "I'm So Excited"

Irish actor Colin Farrell has confirmed he will star in the second season of HBO's 'True Detective', ending months of speculation that linked the likes...

With Matthew McConaughey's Story Done "True Detective" Casts Colin Farrell For Second Season

Big news, True Detective fans! The latest cast announcement from HBO’s runaway hit is that Colin Farrell will join the lineup starting next season. Farrell...

Colin Farrell Confirms He Has Landed Lead Role In 'True Detective'

Colin Farrell is the next huge Hollywood actor to take his talents to the small screen. The 38 year-old actor has reportedly confirmed that he...

Rachel McAdams In 'True Detective 2' Talks & Other Cast Rumours

Rachel McAdams is rumoured to be in talks with the makers of the second series of True Detective. The 35-year-old Canadian actor is not the...

Advertisement