An Irish-Italian café owner in a seaside town faces a life crisis, as his wife recently died and he's severely in debt. His oldest son tries to help, but has serious problems of his own, ... See full summary »
"The Tiger's Tail" refers to the "Celtic Tiger" economic boom that Ireland experienced from 1995 to 2008 (Ireland was said to officially be in recession as of June 24th 2008). See more »
In the scene where Liam pulls up at Oona's house, his car is a 03 Golf with wheel trims. When they are taking Conor to the hospital a side shot of the car is shown which clearly shows the car with alloy wheels. The number plate on the car 03-D-55897 is the same in both shots. See more »
Imbalanced but enjoyable social critique of a thriller
Weaving in philosophical quandaries of doppelganger definitions of self with taut suspense and scathing social commentary, writer/director John Boorman's latest film dripped with promise. And while this may have been a promise superseded by the film's overambitious reach, The Tiger's Tail proves an entertaining amalgamation, despite the frequent creative misfires.
Boasting an intriguing premise, the film is at its strongest when dealing with the central plot thread of a wealthy Irish businessman (Gleeson) having his comfortable life usurped by his violently unpredictable twin (also Gleeson), falling into destitution in the process. This effective, almost Hitchcockian thriller toying with notions of doppelgangers, sense of self and definition of identity makes for a sturdy start, which sadly ends all too soon, falling short of the taut suspense piece it could have been. After this central storyline has run its course, the film begins to waver, jerking around with contrived plot twists and becoming somewhat of a confused muddle before culminating in a genuinely unorthodox if unsatisfying ending. Imbalance is the word of choice as the film's tone and plot flip-flop throughout, stuffing in as much social critique into the narrative as possible and slathering everything on rather thickly, from the central theme of the rich/poor divide (though whether Ireland's is truly the most dramatically so in all of Europe, as the film states is questionable) to the soaring crescendo of dramatic music, while underplaying the development of other intriguing plot threads (O'Leary seems oddly unsurprised by the unnerving discovery of his secret sordid past) to underwhelming effect.
However, director Boorman excels in his less than flattering, darkly satirical depiction of contemporary Dublin: indeed "a land Joyce would hardly recognize" and a far cry from the country's usual romanticized cinematic portrayals. Boorman's Dublin is a rank, filthy place more akin to the worst days of New York, filled with poverty, destitution, endless traffic, street-fights and vomiting teens - a city who would whimsically release their entire supply of non-violent mental patients onto the street to cut costs, in one of the film's most staggering lapses in judgement. An ode to the city's culture this isn't, but an intriguing cinematic cry for change it is. But in the end, despite the noticeably flawed delivery, the film proves a consistently entertaining watch, never slowing down enough to become anything less than enjoyable, if slightly frantically so.
Brendan Gleeson shines in a much needed starring role, wonderfully essaying both the grimly successful businessman and his shady identical twin with convincing distinctions and charisma to spare. However, the horrifyingly miscast Kim Cattrall easily proves the film's weakest point, her performance as consistently unconvincing as her shriekingly insulting attempt at an Irish accent. From her wobbling between unsatisfied wife to vacant shopaholic, to her never once reacting to the events surrounding her in a convincing fashion, coming as low as succumbing to attempted rape with sordid glee, Cattrall's performance and character scream of every shade of wrong. Briain Gleeson, real life son of star Brendan is an endearing and amusing presence as the protagonist's communist enthusiast son, even if he lacks the necessary exposition to jump from being wryly cynical to melodramatically disenchanted with life. Ciarán Hinds is a charming addition as a well meaning priest, and Sinéad Cusack does her best to keep herself from veering over the top in a laughably poorly written role as the mysterious family member connected to both O'Leary and his dark counterpart.
However imbalanced and overambitious the film may be, overlooking character and narrative development for over-obvious social critique, The Tiger's Tail remains a uniquely entertaining anomaly in spite of itself, anchored by a well deserved star turn by Gleeson. While hardly one of the strongest pieces of Irish cinema to emerge of late, the film remains an enjoyable and intriguing watch for those willing to side-step its frequently flawed delivery.
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