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Shot in the rough, 16-millimeter style of a low-budget documentary,Tigerlandmarked director Joel Schumacher's welcomed return to simplicity after a slew of bloated blockbusters likeBatman&Robin. In revitalizing Schumacher's directorial talent,Tigerland--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,Tigerlandalso marked the deserving arrival of Irish actor Colin Farrell as Hollywood's hottest new discovery.
Its story never leaves U.S. soil, soTigerlanddiffers from such in-country Vietnam films asPlatoonandFull Metal Jacket. Instead, it's about the anxieties and moral dilemmas that arise from theanticipationof 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 R.P. 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" galvanizes the platoon and Bozz's place in it, and although the film (partially based on cowriter Ross Klavan's own experience) lacks the emotional impact ofPlatoon, it deals quite potently with the internal conflicts that must be waged before external warfare can be endured.--Jeff Shannon
War and waste have a lot in common Twenty-five years after the Vietnam war, another film about it, and yet it is not about Vietnam at all. It concentrates on the training marines got in the early 1970s when everything was already lost and the US tried to find a way out without knowing how. One more film about marine-training, will you say, and wrong you will be again because there is a rub somewhere. One of the new marines is just the very type that rebels against any authority, any hierarchy. His presence changes everything. It is very hard for him and for the other men up to the moment when he is entrusted with the commanding position in his unit. An officer felt that he had the power to be in command, though he was rebellious because he was afraid of it. And this captain was right. He creates a rather relaxed atmosphere and he is able to feel the value of his men, those who will be able to go through the war, to be a real help to the others, and those who would be a danger to everyone. He manages the weak ones and the dangerous ones so that they get out before going to Vietnam. And he finally goes with his men and disappears with them, so says the film. This film is about military training. It takes more than authority to train men for battle. It takes guts and humanity, even if at times it also takes some decision-making and some violence. But altogether it is a shame to sacrifice such men in a war when they could have been brilliant assets for the country and its development instead of a war that has no chance whatsoever to be won. We should meditate this simple truth over and over again. Human values are so much more human when they take part in a constructive human project, and war is never, absolutely never, a constructive project.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Universit? Paris Dauphine, Universit? Paris I Panth?on Sorbonne
TIGERLAND If you want to watch a war movie that shows death, blood and gore this is not the movie you. Instead this movie accuratly portrays the life of US Army soldiers in training before they head off to Vietnam and an uncertain fait. All the actors are excellent and really capture the human drama as these soldiers deal with the probability of dying in the jungles of Vietnam. A plus is the accuracy of the time period such as the uniforms, vehicles and even the military lingo used back that era. If you are a stickler like me for accuracy then you will like this movie. I recommend it to those who are more interested in the human aspect of war and not just the blood and guts.A refreshing twist in an oversaturated genre Every once in awhile there comes a film that's simple and understated which manages to not only entertain you but also make you think. Such is the case with Tigerland. Before he was one of Hollywood's favorite "bad boys" and one of Jay Leno's most regularly expletive-laced and bleeped out guests, Colin Farrell got his start in this uncharacteristically low-key Joel Schumacher (ruiner of the early 90s Batman franchise) film.
The film is narrated by Private Jim Paxton (Matt Davis) who enlisted so he could write about the War first hand. A young idealist, the war for him holds the mystique and mystery of all the old John Wayne movies he grew up watching in his youth. The film starts as Paxton meets Private Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell). Bozz is the realistic counterpoint to Paxton's idealistic tendencies. Unlike Paxton, Bozz was drafted and has no interest in going to Vietnam.
Much to the chagrin of Bozz's superiors, he shows tremendous leadership skills and abilities that instead of using to lead the other privates in his group, he opts to use that cunning to help a few of the privates get discharged-- saving them from going overseas to serve in the war.
Despite their distinct differences Paxton and Bozz form a very close friendship and tight bond. And when given the opportunity to desert and flee to Mexico or stay and be shipped off to Vietnam Bozz is forced to choose-- if he defects it only means someone else will end up serving in his place-- a bullet that might be meant for him might instead take the life of another-- that someone could be his friend Paxton.
With as many movies as there are about Vietnam and despite the fact that this whole movie is set in the US before the soldiers even get sent over, this is easily the best Vietnam film I've seen since Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Setting the film at Tigerland, the infamous final stop for training of US soldiers, before shipping off to Vietnam, sets it apart from many other films which tackled this subject matter, giving a tired genre a fresh voice and perspective.