The Tiger's Tail

The Tiger's Tail


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Far from being a roaring, sinewy beast with a lot of bite that the title might suggest, John Boorman's latest has more in common with a lumbering white elephant.

Brendan Gleeson takes on the dual roles of Liam O'Leary, a high-flying property developer who has come up the hard way and the Yorkshire-accented twin (at least, I think it was Yorkshire) he never knew he had, come to steal his life.

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Liam is a rufty-tufty Irish sort who has ridden the Celtic tiger all the way to the top of his trade and now lives in a beautiful house with his beautiful wife (Kim Cattrall, sporting an dubious Oirish accent) and son Connor (played by his real-life son Briain). When he starts to see his doppelganger, he tries to corner him - but his family think he's just losing his mind.

He goes to see his mum to discover the truth and sees the life he thought he knew disintigrate as a result. When his double hatches a plan that puts the real Liam in the dock for being an imposter, things begin to spiral out of control - not just for Liam, but in terms of the plot.

The tone of this film is all over the place, jumping from mystery thriller to black comedy, to social satire and back again as if on a whim. There is also a particularly disturbingly mysoginistic scene, in which Cattrall is, to all intents and purposes, raped, yet laps it up as if it was the best thing that ever happened to her.

There is no doubting Boorman wants to make a point about the rich getting rich and the poor getting poorer in modern-day Ireland, but by taking it on through a 'prince and pauper' plot device the film feels as though it is stuck in a decade long-since past. It seems Boorman wants to show us everything - dodgy hospitals, lack of mental care facilities, drunken yobs who puke in the street, bribery and corruption at the highest level - but by jamming them all in, he gives them an unreal, cartoonish quality, that lacks any real grit.

The characters are equally uneven. Connor, for example, is, on the one-hand portrayed as a savvy, Marx-spouting paid up member of the Communist party, yet on the other as a golf-playing Generation X-er who is potentially suicidal over a girl.

Gleeson delivers a bravura performance - but even putting in double the effort is not enough to rescue the script.

Reviewed on: 07 Jun 2007
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The Tiger's Tail packshot
A successful Irish businessman has his life thrown into disarray by a doppelganger.

Director: John Boorman

Writer: John Boorman

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Kim Cattrall, Briain Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds, Sinéad Cusack, Sean McGinley, Angeline Ball, Cathy Belton, Denis Conway, Michael FitzGerald, David Herlihy

Year: 2006

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Ireland


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