2000s

Published on August 20th, 2010 | by Chris

2

Tigerland (2000)

Review of: Tigerland (2000)

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On August 20, 2010
Last modified:October 5, 2012

Summary:

Overall I did like Tigerland, if nothing else just because it's a take on the whole "going to war" business I haven't seen, or even thought of, before. Where most Vietnam movies seem to focus on "let's just get out of this sh*t and get home" this one gets them out *before* they even go.


Tigerland (2000)Tigerland. The title refers to an "immersion" style boot camp training ground where new Army infantry recruits were sent before they boarded that plane to Vietnam. But the film's focus is merely leading up to that.

The thing is, by 1971, everyone knows the war is pointless, and especially so everyone who's found themselves here. Most of all, one Pvt. Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell). Through some masterful manipulation and a lot of cocky attitude, he manages to get a few of his class sent home. Either by getting them hardship discharges, section 8's, or finally, through injury and court martial. Farrell's portrayal of the I-don't-care smartass is spot on. Part of the reason I don't really care for any of his other stuff (lol) but the casting crew really nailed it here.

Through his tricks he works his way to Platoon Sergeant, and from there manages to make friends and enemies, culminating in an unforgettable in the "jungle" of Tigerland itself.

Part of the uniqueness of Tigerland is in its style. Filmed in an extremely grainy stock, with a lot of handheld shots, it almost comes across as a period 1970's pseudo-documentary. Big kudos to director Joel Schumacher here.

But (and there's always a but) if Tigerland has a flaw its the writing. A lot of it is just so utterly cliched, especially where the drill sergeants and officers are concerned. It's like they said "Bring me R. Lee Ermy's DS from Full Metal Jacket, and tone it down a bit" or something. A lot of times its near eye-rolling and laughable. At times the banter and such between the recruits starts to take on that same "haven't I heard this before?" quality as well. However, for some reason the conversations between Bozz and Paxton, which are probably the core of the story, are actually pretty well thought out, thought provoking, and interesting.

Overall I did like Tigerland, if nothing else just because it's a take on the whole "going to war" business I haven't seen, or even thought of, before. Where most Vietnam movies seem to focus on "let's just get out of this sh*t and get home" this one gets them out *before* they even go.

But (another one) there's an even bigger message I think that may be overshadowed by all the stock DS shouting and Farrell's cocky attitude. As Bozz leaves on the bus, he leaves his injured-soon-to-be-discharged buddy Paxton behind. (to paraphrase) "I guess I'm going in your place, huh?" Which refers to a conversation the two had earlier in the movie. Paxton's reason for enlisting was that if he didn't, someone else would take his place, and they'd end up getting killed or injured, and he couldn't live with that.

So even through all of Bozz's bullsh*t, he comes out of it as the real hero, sacrificing himself for the good of Paxton, and all the others he got sent home, *including* his enemy Wilson. Something to consider.

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Description

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 like Batman & 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...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: Fox
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Colin Farrell
  • Matthew Davis
  • Clifton Collins Jr.
  • Tom Guiry
  • Shea Whigham

Features

  • 2001 - Tigerland - DVD
  • Colin Farrell, Cole Hauser, Thomas Guiry
  • Director: Joel Schumacher - Widescreen
  • New - With Bonus Features
  • Collectible

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Triple Feature - Hart's War/Thin Red Line/Tigerland
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Tigerland (2000) Chris

Summary: Overall I did like Tigerland, if nothing else just because it's a take on the whole "going to war" business I haven't seen, or even thought of, before. Where most Vietnam movies seem to focus on "let's just get out of this sh*t and get home" this one gets them out *before* they even go.

3.5


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



2 Responses to Tigerland (2000)

  1. Interesting movie, but flawed. I agree with most of your analysis. I think Bozz’s transformation is unrealistic. He goes from a slacker to a warrior too easily. It does not make sense. The conflict with Wilson is also unrealistic. I doubt the Army was so desperate that they would not only have kept him, but put him in a position to use live ammunition in a field exercise. I would disagree with one thing you say – I do not see Bozz as manipulating his way to promotions. I got the impression he did not want to move up, but the Army (for no logical reason, insisted).
    I love your blog and am a loyal follower.

  2. Redetoo says:

    I have seen the movie and did my AIT at Tiger Land from July to Oct 1970. While we didn’t have time to socialize as depicted in the movie you certianly did grow up real quick. If you knew you weren’t going AWOL you became the best soldier you could be because your survial depended on it. The DI’s I had were all Vietnam Vets and they didn’t mince words when it came to us learning what they showed and told us. When you are told either listen and have a good chance of coming home alive or ignore them and likely come home dead. You learned to learn and I still remember lots of what I was trained. Once a Soldier, Always A Soldier. It never totally leaves you.

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