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Tigerland centres on the character of Private Roland Bozz, played by Colin Farrell. Bozz has reluctantly joined the army during the Vietnam War and is trying his best to get kicked out before he has to make the trip to Vietnam. Desperate to annoy his sergeants enough for them to get rid of him, he sets about trying to get a bad name. This behaviour also annoys his fellow soldiers who want Bozz kicked out of the army as well. Unfortunately for Bozz, his sergeants have taken a different approach to dealing with his unacceptable behaviour. They choose to ignore it and let his colleagues deal with it. Tigerland?s strength is its character development. During some of the confrontations between Bozz and fellow soldiers, we realise that Bozz is not as uncaring as first impressions suggest. He simply doesn?t agree with war and doesn?t see why he should fight. At first, members of his platoon don?t agree with his ideas and think he is a rebel. In fact some of them take great offence because he doesn?t show any pride in serving his country. Gradually he makes friends, in particular with Jim Paxton (Matthew Davis). Paxton and Bozz become good friends and some of Bozz?s ideas rub off on his easily influenced friend. Several incidents occur during the movie which means that Bozz ends up leading the platoon several days before the group?s visit to Tigerland. Tigerland is based in Louisiana and is the cruel training camp that all soldiers visit before going to Vietnam. The camp is designed to give a realistic view of what life in Vietnam is going to be like. At first, Bozz?s appointment as captain of the platoon is not received very well. Several members of the platoon refuse to work under him but gradually they grow to respect their leader. Obviously some members can never accept Bozz as their commander and this makes the movie even more compelling. As mentioned before, Tigerland contains very little action. We never see the soldiers in Vietnam and the
only action scenes shown are some training exercises. For this reason any fans of action-packed war will be extremely disappointed and probably bored. What Tigerland does extremely well is to develop the characters in a way that means the audience cares about what happens to each character. At first Bozz seems like a very spoilt and ignorant person, but as the film progresses we learn that he is a lot more thoughtful than he first appeared. Tigerland has probably over ten main characters and during the movie we get to know about their backgrounds and their thoughts on fighting in the war. The treatment of the soldiers during training is wonderfully brought to the screen. I have seen several Vietnam films, but this one is probably one of the most accurate and gruelling portrayals of what soldiers had to go through before reaching Vietnam. With a movie that is so character driven, you need good performances from your main actors. That?s exactly what you get in Tigerland. Colin Farrall is superb as Bozz. His performance is assured and confident. His character needs to be annoying at first but then respected as the movie progresses. Farrall does this expertly and to be honest this is necessary for the film to succeed. So much of the film is built around his character that to have had anyone less convincing in the lead role would have spoilt the movie. Matthew Davis also gives a strong performance as do most of the main actors. At times Tigerland felt like a documentary. The picture quality is not great but that is intentional on the part of the director. Various different camera angles are used and the zooming in is sometimes quite amateurish!. This is all done on purpose though, to make the film look as rough as some of the surroundings the soldiers had to face. During some of the training sequences the camera manages to get right on top of the soldiers even though they are in bunkers. The film feels like it has been filmed with a heldheld camcorde
r, and this actually improves the impact of certain scenes. One thing which I think could have improved the movie was the focus on Tigerland. Only about a quarter of the movie actually takes place there. This is a little disappointing, as the camp looked like a very gruelling period for the soldiers. It would have been interesting to see how Bozz inspired his platoon during difficult conditions. This is only a minor gripe though as the length of the movie is ideal. At just over ninety minutes the film never gives the audience the opportunity to get bored. I suppose you are wondering why the movie has an 18 certificate if there is no violence during it. The main reason for the adult rating is that there is an awful lot of swearing. Sometimes it is a little over the top but if it were to be removed from the movie some of the impact would probably be lost. The film also deals with a fairly adult theme and some of the punishment that the soldiers have to take is disturbing. I cannot recommend Tigerland enough. I normally like action packed movies but found Tigerland to be a fresh and riveting look at Vietnam. It a realistic and emotional journey through the lives of a bunch of soldiers prior to their assignment to Vietnam, which has not been tried before. Joel Schumacher gives us an insight into how people react in difficult times. The film may not be the most exciting war movie of recent times but it is certainly one of the most powerful and emotional.
Wow, what a film! Tigerland was a film I have wanted to watch for a while. I had seen it in my local video shop, but only on video, and as my video recorder is broke, and someone’s always watching the TV in the living room with the working video recorder, I had to get it on DVD. I finally found it on DVD the other day while hunting round Blockbuster. So I had to have it didn’t I! I’m glad I did aswell, I had heard good reviews about this film around various different websites, plus I love war films anway, so this one looked to be right up my street. You see, Tigerland is a war film, but it doesn’t follow the original war genre, as in fighting in the war. This film follows the soldiers as they prepare for Vietnam, in one of the toughest camps ever known, Tigerland. It doesn’t show you the war itself, it shows you the people preparing for war, and how they react in situations. It shows people looking forward to fighting the war, and it also shows soldiers who just want to go home, and be ‘normal’ people, and they just need to find a way out. The actual tag line for the movie is: ‘The system wanted them to become soldiers. One soldier just wanted to be human’. And that is what we explore in this film, with emotions thrown all over the place. The film was directed by Joel Schumacher. A director I must admit I had not heard of until I watched this film, but a director who directed ‘A time to Kill’ and Batman & Robin’ amongst loads of other, pretty well known films. The film isn’t to well known over here though, as it was a straight to video release, as far as I can see anyway, which is a shame, it would have been a great film in the UK cinema. So, for us, it didn’t carry the hype that it could have done for the Americans, but sadly, and I don’t know why, didn’t. The film was only shown on 5 US box office screens, and only made a total of $139,500. A pretty s
ad figure really. I can’t tell you what the budget was for the film, as I don’t know. Why they let this go straight to video in this country and only gave it 5 screens in the whole of the US I really don’t know, and this film deserves some damn recognition! It’s got the recognition on the websites, and has a very good score of 7.4 on IMDB, it just needs more, it deserves it. The film itself follows soldiers, in training for the Vietnam war. Things are tough at their camp, and as if things weren’t tough enough, they are due to be sent to the worst, and toughest training camps known, Tigerland. The chance of them surviving, and coming back home to tell the tale of Vietnam is very remote, their superiors are even telling them they haven’t got long to live. We are introduced to Private Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell), a smart soldier who the others instantly take a dislike to. He doesn’t go by the rules, he doesn’t do being shouted at, if he’s only got a short time to live, why follow rules? That’s his motto anyway, and he soon get in trouble for it. He soon starts making friends though when the others see that he’s smart, he also makes some enemies though, ranging from soldiers to Sergeants. He’s the answer to everyone’s prayers, he knows the loopholes in the system, he can get people out, and back home to their kids and livelihoods. It soon unravels that he himself isn’t the brave one, he is the coward, we soon see further into the character than we were previously allowed, and get more attached, and feel for him. We are allowed to get attached to the other characters aswell, each of them being totally unique and the film concentrating on about five of them. Some of them are not cut out for infantry training, let alone Vietnam, some of them cry themselves to sleep. This is what the film is all about, a look at the soldiers and what is going through their minds in the ru
n up to Vietnam. What would go through your mind if you knew you were being sent to Vietnam, and you also knew that everyone who was sent before you is now dead? Your family are back home waiting for you, your kids. Were shown this, were shown the effects, and that is what makes this war film so unique. We not fighting the war, were preparing to die. The visuals are superb. Most of the scenes are set in camp, or outside in the grounds as we watch the soldiers preparing for war and being beaten by the sergeants. Special effects are good, but there are not that many needed, were looking at role play, not how good something was at blowing up. Actually, this is the first war film I have ever watched where something hasn’t been blown up. How unique is that?! I can’t give you a soundtrack listing, and to be honest, I don’t think there is one. Thinking back, I can’t even remember if I heard any songs being played in the movie, I was so engrossed I didn’t actually notice. Most of the film is just dialogue, but don’t let this put you off. This is an excellent film, that hasn’t been recognised yet. I do think that it will get somewhere, just give it time. Watch is if you like war films, watch it if you like to interact with characters, you really will like it. If you can’t decide whether to get it on video or DVD, and your not really fussed, choose the video. The DVD that I had didn’t have any special features included whatsoever. That was the only disappointing bit of the film. A truly remarkable film, that I’m giving 5 out of 5, and it’s hard to get that good a rating from me!
So it didn't sound that great: The director of 'Batman and Robin' making a low budget vietnam warf movie shot on 16mm with no stars...and they don't even get to Vietnam. Hmmm. Well what you get is more than the sum of the parts, but whilst it's good, it's no masterpeice - Apocalypse Now sitting safely on 'the hill'. The pitch of the story is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meets Full Metal Jacket. How? Well, during basic training, a bunch of grunts have their life changed by a cool, fast talking/thinking usurper of the rules - Steve McQueen with a legal brain. The 'unknown' who took this role was a regular in 'Ballykissangel'. Still not impressed? Well since Tigerland, he has taken roles away from Ed Norton, Jim Carey, Will Smith and Matt Damon. He's worked with Spielberg, and played opposite Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise. Still not impressed? He's done all of this within an 18 month period. Still not impressed? Well see this film - Colin Farrell's magnetism launches off the screen - so much so, you know the authorities are never gonna beat him down. He's almost invincible, and it's all down to the boy Farrell's talents. Girls love him, guys wanna know him - you know the type. The boot camp setting is harsh - but not as cold as Kubrick's take on it. The rough and ready look to the film fits in perfectly with the subject matter, and the low budget stops director Schumaker getting carried away in Art Direction meetings and forgetting that he's supposed to be telling a story - with the exception of 'Falling Down', he's never been so interested in pulling performances from his cast as he is here. As with 'Flatliners' he proves he can connect with a young cast and work good work from them - there is one other notable performance of the 'bad egg marine' who sticks in your memory, but wasn't given that much screen time. All in all, the film
is good, but the story lacks layers. Farrell's character was an interesting starting point, a conscript that knows military law and gets his comrades out of the army on technicalities. There the new angle on boot camp ended and what we're left with is the usual angst of young men being sent to a war they don't understand. Worth watching, if only to see some future stars, and better than the usual Hollywood dross.
Tigerland ********* Directed by the well-known (and much criticised) film maker that is Joel Schumacher, Tigerland was something of a career-saver after the likes of Batman and Robin and 8mm both failed miserably (despite the latter being a film I kind of enjoyed in a perverse way). A gritty true-to-life war film, Tigerland is shot using only 16mm film, with shaky camera work often looking amateur (I have even heard this film called 'cheap' looking, which to me is not intended at all, although the film was never meant to be a glossy Hollywood production) to the viewer, and this was very much intended. It is very real, very dramatic and utterly gripping, Schumacher has pulled out all the stops for this one! We join the film in the height of 1971. Focusing mainly on the brutal and un-likable Bozz (Colin Farrell in his first major on-screen role), one of the many Army recruits and draftees brought to Louisiana's Tigerland Training Camp, where the 'better' trainees get the finishing touches applied prior to being sent to Vietnam. Bozz is a very rough and ready character who likes to appear to take everything in his stride, often getting very much into trouble for his actions. The film is told through the eyes of Bozz's best friend Paxton (Matt Davis) who met Bozz when he offered him a hotel room and a couple loose ladies while on leave of the camp (though, at that time, Bozz was ordered to remain on camp but had decided to go AWOL). For differing reasons, Bozz and Paxton become quite close mates, and the film reflects the reasoning behind it well, and we really do get to know the characters as people, liking and hating them for various reasons. The film, I found, was very realistic and true to life. The acting (esp. Farrell) is of an incredibly high standard and never lets the quality slip through any of the supporting roles. The Music from the film is very well suited and works a charm - as
much as in any other movie I can recall in recent times, and that is great credit to Nathan Larson who mesmerises in his audio score for this film. The cinematography in this film also works well, giving a very convincing feel to the locations and situations faced, and the 'shaky' camera work often displeases many viewers, but for me simply adds realism and tension to the movie. Colouration in the film is also cleverly though out, withy low contrast murky scenes showing the dogged lifestyles and situations faced. For me, Tigerland was a very involving experience that I must say I enjoyed. Bombing at the Box-office and not getting too much of a mention with the DVD release stateside, this film is certainly under-rated and this worries me very much. No longer showing now, I would certainly advise any readers of this opinion to get this out when it arrives on VHS/DVD sometime soon. Cast & Crew Info: Director: Joel Schumacher Audio Score: Nathan Larson Main Cast Members: Matthew Davis, Colin Farrell, Thomas Guiry, Shea Whigham, Nick Searcy, Afemo Omilami, Russell Richardson, Clifton Collins Jr., James MacDonald et al
For every serious misstep like the rubber-nippled batsuit and the drag queen farce "Flawless," Joel Schumacher offers up a "Lost Boys," or "St. Elmo's Fire" and (for all intents and purposes) temporarily redeems himself, at least in our memories. Yes this is the man who bathed Matthew McConaughey in "all hail the golden hues and locks of this boy from God" light in "A Time to Kill," but he also stood behind and pushed "Queer as Folk" to come to America. So as reviled as the man is, he sometimes has both his heart, mind, and libido in the right place and makes a good film. Such is the case with TIGERLAND. It's a Vietnam movie that's NOT obsessed with war (take THAT Oliver Stone!). It's more interested in people, a squadron going through boot camp and realistic training (in this "Vietnam simulator" called Tigerland, to be exact), confiding in each other, and earning respect and trust, if not exactly "friendship." It's about authority, and how those in authority are not necessarily BETTER than those they lead, and are often just doing their job the best they can. And it's about the realism of what it takes for a man to be a soldier. And through it all, thank GOD - it's about Matt Davis and Colin Farrel. First, for those to whom this is good news - both men spend a good deal of the movie in either tank tops, white T-shirts, or completely nude. Both have spend quality time getting to know gym equipment, and the result is very worthwhile. Matt Davis proves again that he's got acting chops behind his rugged good looks, and turns in a very good performance. But the winner at the end is a man named Colin Farrel, who might as well start practicing his upper end leading man salary negotiations now, because he's an amazing find. He plays a Texan named Bozz, but his character isn't a one line write off - he's a rebel, yes, but he's als
o a patriot, a leader, a pacifist of sorts, a clown, a best friend, a confidant, an insubordinant, a jerk, a weasel, a lothario, and he's magnetic on screen. Natural as all get out, charming to the point that he has charmed YOU by the time you're done with the movie, and extremely good looking, Farrel takes the movie, sticks it in his pocket, and walks away. Without ruining anymore about what his character does for the others in his squad, I will tell you that I have never seen a war film that takes this particular view, and it's refreshing. It's 90% handheld camera, and there are entire scenes that feel so natural they seem ad libbed. Farrel owns the screen with his McConaughey drawl and rugged looks - and did I mention that fact that he is a stage actor from Ireland, so EVERYTHING that he comes across in this movie (from accent on) is a put on? - when I told my companion that, you could have knocked her over with a feather (so I did - it was funny - you never know when a feather will come in handy). It's an excellent departure from what else is out there, and since it has not yet attracted much attention, I'd like to add my voice to the presently quiet grumblings of support for this fine attempt.
1971. A nation stands divided over the escalating war in Vietnam. Thousands of young Americans lie dead on foreign soil. And at Fort Polk, Louisiana, thousands more prepare to join them. The specter of combat hangs over the men of A–Company, Second Platoon, as they enter the final stage of infantry training. They will be sent to the war. But each man deals with this prospect in his own way. Private Jim Paxton (Matthew Davis), notebook in hand, expects the war to inform his writing – a romantic notion drawn from Hemingway and James Jones. Miter (Clifton Collins, Jr.) hopes to prove himself as a man. Cantwell (Thomas Guiry) simply resigns himself to the inevitable. And Wilson (Shea Whigham), with disturbing zeal, lusts for battle. One man‘s defiance, however, galvanizes every member of the platoon. Soon after Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell) joins A–Company, the lines of opinion that divide the conscience of the nation begin to penetrate the ranks of the soldiers. Just released from the base stockade, Bozz wants out of the army, and he stages small acts of protest. Bozz‘ disobedience triggers unexpected and far–reaching consequences. We begin to see that Bozz, Paxton, Miter, Cantwell, Wilson, Johnson (Russell Richardson) and the others are children, handed rifles and forced into adult uniforms. But nothing Bozz does can save himself or the boys in Second Platoon from Tigerland, a wilderness designated by the army for jungle combat simulation. Their last stop before the war. Deep in the backwoods of Louisiana, with little hope of escaping Vietnam, Bozz rushes towards an action that no one – not even he – could have anticipated. "Tigerland" is "Batman And Robin" director Joel Schumacher‘s latest attempt to reinvent himself. Inspired by Danish director Lars von Trier‘s "Dogme 95" movement, Schumacher set out to make a low budget movie in just
28 days, using a largely unknown cast, 16mm film stock, hand–held cameras and predominantly natural light to give it a gritty, documentary feel. The story is set in 1971 and tells of troops – many of them conscripts – in training for Vietnam at a time when many of the soldiers were under no illusion about the likelihood of them returning unscathed, or even alive. Irish actor (and former "Ballykissangel" star) Colin Farrell stars as Bozz, a man whose opposition to the war is made apparent from the moment we meet him. Bozz‘s attempts to beat the system and get his friends out of the army are at the core of an enjoyable (if slightly formulaic) movie that – although not filmed in a Hollywood style – definitely features a Hollywood friendly script. But while not quite as radical a film as Schumacher might have hoped for, "Tigerland" is nevertheless the director‘s best movie in years, with a major star in the making in Colin Farrell.
Thanks to the advantages of having a multi-region dvd player I had the chance to see this film at home before it's official UK theatrical release. Tigerland is the latest film from Joel Schumacher of Batman and Robin infamy. This follows another low budget film he made called Flawless and shows he's going back to basics after some big hollywood popcorn movies and I honestly respect that. Tigerland is the name given to a training camp for soldiers due to go to war in Vietnam. The camp is a re-creation of the Vietnamese jungle and the soldiers are given some harsh lessons in combat. One soldier named Bozz is a rebel. He doesn't care much for authority and doesn't really care for the war whatsoever. His knowledge of loopholes in the system allows him to get other soldiers eho can't handle the pressure out of the army. This gets him respect and jealousy amongst his fellow soldiers while also annoying his superiors. It turns out Bozz is actually a very good soldier and soon his morals get the better of him as he finds himself opened up to some harsh realities and finds himself making friends with a fellow soldier Paxton. When I mentioned back to basics earlier I meant it. The film is shot in grainy 16mm with a very harsh colour palette. Everything is washed out. There's a great deal of natural light used in the film as well as a handheld stlye employed to shoot it. It use's no make-up and very little in the way of production design. This all adds to the films gritty reality. The cinematography is very good and is accomplished by Matthew Labatique who shot two other great independant films Pi and Requiem For A Dream. As for the acting, well the performances are very natural. The unknown irishman Colin Farrell adopts a texan drawl to play Bozz. He's full of charisma and commands the screen. This has lead to him to be cast by Steven Spielberg in his next film as a result. Plaudits must also go to Matthew Da
vis who plays Paxton. This is another newcomer who I'd only seen in the awful Urban Legends:Final Cut. It just goes to show that everyone has to start somewhere because with better material he's a good actor. In fact all the performances are natural. If the film has any faults then it's that the army chiefs spout the usual hard-assed comments to install discipline into the troops. But then again this was co-written by someone who drew on vietnam experiences so for them this is what it was probably like. Tigerland is a vietnam movie that doesn't resort to having full scale army warfare to draw an audience. If Schumacher carries on making films like this then the memory of Batman and Robin will soon become a distant one.
Shot in the rough, 16-millimeter style of a low-budget documentary, Tigerland marked director Joel Schumacher's welcomed return to simplicity after a slew of bloated blockbusters such as Batman & Robin. In revitalising Schumacher's directorial talent, Tigerland--which is partially inspired by the Danish Dogme 95 movement of no-frills filmmaking--suggested that one solution to Hollywood's moribund "product" was to abandon excess, focus on essentials, and assemble a fine cast of unknown actors to make it all worthwhile. To that end, Tigerland also marked the deserving arrival of Irish actor Colin Farrell as Hollywood's hottest new discovery. Its story never leaves US soil, so Tigerland differs from such in-country Vietnam films as Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. Instead, it's about the anxieties and moral dilemmas that arise from the anticipation of death and killing. These roiling emotions are focused on the character of Private Bozz (Farrell), whose insubordination betrays a singular knack for leadership during infantry training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in 1971. Part RP McMurphy and part Cool Hand Luke, Bozz is a defiant maverick, barely tolerated by his superiors, challenged or revered by his fellow grunts and ultimately honed into a soldier of remarkable promise. An intense final week in the live-ammo training ground nicknamed "Tigerland" galvanises the platoon and Bozz's place in it, and although the film (partially based on co-writer Ross Klavan's own experience) lacks the emotional impact of Platoon, it deals quite poignantly with the internal conflicts that must be waged before external warfare can be endured. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com