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I have read some of the different opinions here and I concede that some of the points made could be relevant to this film. Most modern films do very little for me (I've been filmgoing since the 1950's) but I really enjoyed this film immensely with the possible exception of the way the "situation" was resolved in the end. However, most people could probably think of a hundred ways to end this one so I accept the one chosen. The acting was first class, Seamus Deasy's photography was spot on and Stephen McKeon's wonderful score raised it all a notch or two. What a refreshing break from the ear-bashing, grossly offensive noise that passes for film music these days. I give it 7 because, quite simply, I enjoyed it and that's what counts in the end, not who didn't speak very well, who was or wasn't liked in it and how bad Irish society is today.
I recently saw this at the 2007 Palm Springs International Film Festival for it's North American premiere. Director/writer John Boorman has had a very sporadic directorial career making only 15 feature length films between 1965 and 2006 including this, his latest offering. Boorman has rarely enjoyed the success that struck early in his career with such films as Point Blank, Hell in the Pacific and his biggest to date Deliverance. This time around Boorman has delivered a black comedy set in Ireland where Liam O'Leary (Brendan Gleesan) plays a wealthy real estate developer who's new found wealth has come through hard work and determination but is also costing him a loveless marriage to his wife Jane (Kim Catrell), an indifferent rebellious son Connor (real-life son Brian Gleeson), and he is overextended with his bank and battling with a rival developer and flirting with a nervous breakdown. Liam begins to think he is going mad when he starts seeing his double. Gleeson is very good in the double role of Liam and his double. Catrall drifts in and out of an Irish accent but it's not that pronounced of an accent to begin with to be bothersome to the viewer or detracting from the story. Brian Gleeson turns in a fine first screen debut. This is not a great film and not without it's flaws but it's got some great peripheral support players in the cast and good story with some witty moments. I liked it. It's got kind of a 1940's Hollywood B movie quality to it although set in modern times. I would give it a 7.5 out of 10 and it's worth a look.
This is the very first time I have made a comment on a movie. If this superb production had received the excellent reviews that it so richly deserves then I would not have bothered. I can not recall the last time I was so engrossed by a story so well told. Each of the characters become real people encouraged by by a script which appears so simple and natural but yet allows all the superb players to add depth, feeling and emotion to the flawed yet heroic individuals who inhabit this tale. After watching this I felt as if I had just finished reading a novel ( a medium which usually allows greater empathy with well drawn characters). I found that the 'crowd' scenes both extremely funny and yet deeply poignant. Each extra has an 'over the top' tom an jerry role to play yet each character is a parody of real people in real situations that are played out on the towns and cities of Ireland every night of the week. As W.B Yeats said 'A Terrible beauty is born'. As you may have guessed I am Irish .. I could recognise the character of Ireland in this drama. The strenghs, weaknesses and joy of our nation are evident in this production. I presume John Boreman is an American. I salute him for capturing the soul of our nation and not once mention little green men with a crock of gold. Well done.
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching this film, shown recently on a cable channel, and the reality
of what is going on in Ireland at the present time, seems, in a way, a
sort of metaphor for the boom the country experienced in the past two,
or three decades. Sadly, what goes up so quickly has a tendency to come
crashing down, as it is the case of the latest state of affairs, not
only in Ireland, but in other countries as well.
Liam O'Leary is a successful entrepreneur that faces opposition to his latest project, a world class soccer stadium. Liam is living the kind of life of a new rich person. As we meet him, he is driving home stuck in one of those traffic jams so typical of big cities during rush hour. He must get home to change and go to a dinner where he is being given an award fro his achievements.
Home life is a mess. His wife, Jane, is bored with her husband, as well as with her life. The excesses have not given her the kind of life one feels she wanted. Connor, his teenager son, hates his father because he has given him the so many material things he is bored and has turned into liking communism, as a sort of protest against his self-made man.
Liam, who is edgy because of the turn of events in his financial world, one day discovers he is being follow by a man that looks just like him. That brings him to a visit to his aging mother to inquire about whether he was an adopted son. The revelation from his mother devastates Liam, who has been oblivious to some signs that would have given him a clue as to this part of his life.
John Boorman, the director, also wrote the screenplay. The film reunites him with Brendan Gleeson, a man that has done excellent work for the director. The film resonates because it shows the machinations behind a successful man that now has to pay dearly for what he built. He has wasted his life in the pursuit of wealth, not only for himself, but for his wife and son as well. Instead of the respect he feels he deserves he has to face a past he never knew, plus a man that is exactly a replica of himself, but with a somewhat criminal trait. Liam has ultimately to confront reality in order to move on, not before making peace at home.
Brendan Gleeson is the whole reason for watching "The Tiger's Tail". He is an actor who always delivers. He makes a tremendous impression in a double role which shows two sides of a personality. Kim Cattrall appears as Liam's wife, Jane, and Brian Gleeson, who is the lead man's own son, is seen as his son Connor. In the supporting cast, Sinead O'Connor shines. Ciaran Hands also graces the film with his valuable presence.
I was an extra on this movie, in the Awards Dinner scene near the
beginning, and I looked forward to the finished product with some
trepidation because the dialog seemed quite poor. However, i have been
pleasantly surprised. This is a good movie, and maybe I'm stupid but I
didn't see the ending coming; It thought it was a very good resolution,
and I don't understand why one reviewer says it leaves numerous threads
hanging. I thought all of the production values the music and
everything were very good. My criticisms would be the same for most
Irish movies; the relatively poor acting of the more junior actors (I
refer in particular to the drunken girlfriend we first encounter in the
Temple Bar nightclub. There were other weaknesses, things that could
have been much better handled such as the first appearance of the
doplleganger, and O'Leary getting coshed in the toilets (again, bad
acting by the other actors there). Some things were just stupid, like
the statement that the more houses O'Leary builds the more homeless
there are; Boorman should stick to the directing and leave the
economics to others. Kim shouldn't have attempted the Oirish (sic)
accent. It would have been quite believable for O'Leary to have married
an American, and better, even.
It gives a reasonably good insight into middle-class Ireland, and a glimpse of the world of the down-and-out (which is the same everywhere, I suppose). I stayed until the very end of the credits.
I go to Theatre and Cinema to be entertained. This film did it for me. A good story, good acting, well shot scenery... what more do I require? There is no hard and fast way of speaking, if you live in Dublin. Therefore , we must remember there are no rules... So we cannot break them. Bad accents and diction can be heard every day from people who use their voice. Take our Radio and Television front men and women, who frequently refer to 'Fillums - Tremenjus- and excepted, instead of accepted.... Do we hang them out to dry? So what if an American Actor didn't quite get it right. Did she not convince us that she was a wronged wife in a bad marriage? Did Gleason not come across as a man with many problems, who was in fear of ruining himself? Did John Kavanagh,Sinead Cusack, Sean McGinley and many other good actors not grasp the role and present it as such.? I liked it... well done John, Cast and all concerned.
Brendan Gleeson might be one of the most underrated actors in the
public eye. I didn't know anything about this movie when I rented it to
watch it, so I had no idea who the director is. Reading it now, it
makes sense. The movie is really skillfully done, the performances are
great and even when you think you know where this is going, it might
still be able to surprise you.
There were a few moments where you think "well he could say this or do that" to prove a point. But that is not what the movie is trying to tell you/do. The movie cares about the characters, but even more about society and how we ourselves play a role. A role that might not even befit us, but under normal circumstances we would never change ourselves. Why should we, we are happy as it is, aren't we? These questions and a lot more are being transported via a mystery story, that really has some punches for the viewer. I also really liked where this went at the end, but that is up for discussion ... Watch it and I'm sure most of you won't find this boring at all
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
John Boorman has written & directed many fine films,This however is not
one of his memorable ones.
This being said, I must add that a second rate film by this master writer/ director is better than many if not most of the so called better dramas on the screen today.
This is a family type drama about family relationships,& a secret from the past that has just come to light.
This movie was made in & about Dublin, Ireland.
The cast comprises some of the better actors in Irish cinema. Brendan Gleeson in a dual role is excellent. In worthy support are
Kim Cattrall,Ciarrin Hinds,Sinead Cusack & in his debut role
Briain Gleeson (he is Brendans real life son) as the son.
The story is complicated,But I was able to follow it all the way.
I wish they had a less contrived plot development towards the end.
I usually enjoy father-son relationships,thusly I did like this.
Ratings: *** (out of 4) 88 points (out of 100) IMDb 8 (out of 10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
--SPOILER ALERT--- I was a bit disappointed with this film as it is the
work of John Boorman. The acting is played out nicely and the way the
film flows is quite OK. But still my expectations were higher.
It's one of those films that has a better synopsis than the film itself is. I had the feeling that Boorman can't decide what this film is.
Nevertheless his professional touch in the films visual world is well handled and the turning points that we find out of the twin brother are quite unique.
But just somehow the way the story line ends, is a bit like an episode of Emmerdale.
It has something to do with the balance of the film. The beginning scene with the main character sitting in the car and being introduced via telephone calls is so superb as a start, you start to except more.
But after this scene the world of the main character is cliché filled and the characters around him feel like paper. They don't breathe as human beings as the main characters role does.
Another thing is that you have unbalanced roles inside the film. It seems like some of the actors are acting in a different movie than Gleeson's main character.
Also the whole hospital sequence disturbed me a lot and I didn't believe it for a second.
Not a must, but if you need a well done no-brainer, then it suits your needs.
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