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on 12 August 2002
TigerLand is basically about a platoon of soldiers in the American army training for the Vietnam War. Private Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell)is brash and charismatic whose independance and outright defiance puts him on the wrong side of many of his superiors, as well as other soldiers. During the course of the film, he and Private Wilson (Clifton Collins Jr) form a bitter and intense hatred for each other.
However he also forms a special relationship with Private Paxton (Matthew Davis).
Tigerland is a brutal and intense training ground which is the last stop between the soldiers and the Vietnam War and during his time there, Bozz's leadership and character bring him and his men together - triggering extraordinary consequences.
Tigerland is one of my favourite war dramatisations and it really shows the brutal discipline America inflicts on its soldiers in desperate times. It is extremley moving and courageous, just like Braveheart. What I am basically trying to get at is YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE! YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!
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on 18 November 2002
I remember the first time I watched The Godfather. I remember the first time I watched The Shawshank Redemption...and I will remember the first time I saw Tigerland.
The combination of beautifully understated direction from Schumacher and the coming of age of an unknown cast has created here, a gem of a film which has somehow gone unoticed.
In the high budget, blockbuster movie world we live in, it was so refreshing to see two actors take the lead in a film and captivate the audience so convincingly.
The movie centres around a group of recruits going through final training before they are sent to Vietnam. We never see them make it to Vietnam, but the real journey comes in the relationship between Bozz (Colin Farrell) and Paxton (Matthew Davis), as they try and come to terms with conveyor belt they are being sent down which is designed to make them killers.
Bozz soon becomes the reluctant leader as the men around him(mostly) admire his honesty and humanity. Why would he want to hurt another human being? The story sees him get two friends out of the army whilst his stuggles against a system he sees as so injust, only to get promoted.
With an amazing array of unknown talent on display, with the excellent Russel Richardson playing Private Johnson standing out, the film features the cream of Hollywoods future.
Colin Farrel must surely be the find of the year, whilst Matthew Davis can look forward to a bright future. Expect to hear more from this cast very soon. And expect Tigerland to become one of the classics of recent times.
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on 2 February 2006
I originally sought this film out based purely on it's trailer. I'd heard nothing about it and had heard of none of it's stars (including Colin Farrel, at the time). The result is a film bereft of window dressing and seemingly free of ego (bizarrely, given the director's track record). What it does give is a great Vietnam war film with neither Vietnam or the war to lift it. The relationships between the various soldiers are the bedrock of the film and, despite some cartoony steretypes, they are all excellent as they progress through training with little or nothing to cling to and the spectre of Vietnam and death (the two are used almost interchangably) just on the horizon. Colin Farrell pulls off the charismatic rebel with ease and his rise to leadership is both believable and well realised. The other "Grunts" are all good, though obviously less focused on than Farrell and his volunteer sidekick, Paxton, whose narration book-ends the film and, portrayed as slightly more intelligent than the others, adds alot of weight to the stuff in between.
Next to a film like Platoon, Tigerland seems pedestrian, with talky scenes and twenty-odd different ways of showing the way a rebel can be respected. However, it's a very engrossing film, giving a real sense of immediacy to what these men are going through. The only slightly underdeveloped theme is the vague way the Farrell helps two fellow Grunts to escape the army. The theme is picked up and dropped just as it seems to be becoming the point of the film. This doesn't do alot to diminish the film however as it plays relatively well next Farrell's steadily increasing sympathetic edge.
The camera work is excellent with grainy cinematography somewhat reminiscent of the Dogme style. I'm convinced that it wouldn't work nearly as well if it had been shot more conventionally.
The pay-off is superb, mostly because the film has not really looked like it's going to have a pay-off and when it comes it's both surprising and powerful.
Tigerland is a clever, powerful film, anchored by Colin Farrell who has, in my opinion, never been better. It benefits from not taking a stance either for or against war and emerges both entertaining and profound.
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on 19 February 2002
Words cannot describe the amazingness of this film, which comes as a total surprise knowing that this film was directed by Joel Schumacher (the man who brought us the trash that is BATMAN AND ROBIN). Don't get me wrong, he has directed some good films, but they haven't all been great (with the exception of FALLING DOWN). But TIGERLAND surpasses them all in terms of excellence, excitement, realism and tension.
Schumacher uses mainly an unknown cast to portray the struggles men face in an army training camp. Straight away, Kubrick's FULL METAL JACKET springs to mind, and this would be rightly so as TIGERLAND is similar to the first half of the film. While (for me) FULL METAL JACKET peeters off towards the end, TIGERLAND remains riveting throughout, with each new character story being brought into light with such flair, immeidately satisfying audience expectation. The unknown cast (whose acting is absolutely unbelievably fantastic) adds to the realism of the film, with the realism being further emphasised by the use of a documentary-style filming technique. In the first ten minutes this does seem quite hard to watch without paining your head, but after that you get used to it, and it soon becomes part of the viewing experience. You feel as if you are actually there taking part in the gruelling training.
The film centres around two characters, Private Boz and Private Paxton. Boz comes across as an anti-authoritarian rebelling against the chain of command of the training process. Watching the film however shows that he runs much deeper than that, and he soon becomes liked and respected by most of the men in his squad (with the minority rebelling against him in shocking ways). Paxton is his best friend, bound to the army by his sense of duty. We see the rigours of soldiers being trained for the Vietnam war through these soldiers, viewing the culmination of their training in the dreaded Tigerland training camp, where Boz discovers where his loyalties lie.
A superb film in every respect, destined to become a classic film of this century.
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on 20 February 2004
Tigerland is one of the best war films in memory, but not because of the action, it's because of the drama. Tigerland is not based around gunfights and beach landings, it's about unity in soldiers, and how they were forced to go to Vietnam, when there was no real need. Colin Farrell offers his best performance to date as the grunt who opposes the system, and helps the other soldiers when he can.
Tigerland is one of those films you cannot fault. It's moving, fast-paced, great performances and will be a classic in years to come.
If you've ever enjoyed a war film, you must watch this, because it's something different, and something important.
Watch if you enjoyed: Saving Private Ryan, Phone Booth, The Thin Red Line.
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on 14 November 2014
This film should go down as a worthy successor to Shawshank Redemption but seems so far to have eluded the slow burning success that SR enjoys.

It is a total left field move for Joel Schumacher and shows that the person behind the later Batman films that are widely considered to have destroyed the franchise prior to Christopher Nolan has more depth that that track record suggests.

A low key film with a compassionate humanistic redemption story, if you've not seen it, you should. Almost certainly in my top 10 if I ever compiled one.
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on 19 August 2012
I give you hereby the review of this movie which I published in my FB account:

Tigerland. I saw for the second time the movie Tigerland. I loved Colin in it and I liked the movie very much. The idea of the movie, the story I liked. I agree with whoever wrote the story and for Joel Schumacher of putting it on screen (and his genius of casting Colin Farrell as Bozz) in respect to what Bozz did. The way I see it, he liberated men who were totally unsuited for war. I am against conscription, I stand for professional army only. Not everybody is a hero, I certainly am not. In the 1st and 2nd world wars, when men were conscripted, many of them were shell shocked, run away, later apprehended and shot as deserters. Despicable!!! ignorance!!! In professional army enter only men with a high spirit of sacrifice (not only for their country but for the benefit of others, like Afghanistan, Iraq, to mention only a few), extremely courageous, patriots to the marrow of their bones. The ones who want to join the army only for the pleasure of killing are spotted during profiling and rejected. I approve fully of what Bozz did: he was more clever and efficient in helping people than anybody I could mention from the Nam war era. By stealth, he saved all those boys from a tragedy. He was a hero, even if a reluctant one. His spirit of sacrifice came through when he joined the platoon instead of ducking to Mexico. I loved Bozz enormously!! and admired him. Professional army soldiers are trained brutally to be able to confront the terrible things which take place in war. War is a tragedy. We are forced by God (aka Above Top Secret Government)!!! to fight wars; for me, at my level of understanding, the proof of this is the Tower of Babel, its destruction and programming people with different ethnicities and languages to divide humanity and creating, in this way, conditions to pit humans each against the other (by this applying the Hegelian principle of thesis, antithesis and synthesis). I damn them to hell, where their residence and origin are, all who are directly or indirectly responsible for this, down the history. The soldiers who fight wars sacrifice themselves for each of us: otherwise, we would have to fight these wars, to do the killing and the dying. Jesus, bless them and save their souls!

When it was the debate between McCain and Obama, the latter, taught probably by Clinton and his cronies, while listening to McCain speaking, Obama put his middle finger on his cheek, by this messaging McCain "s$r&w you" (pardon my French). It was for me stomach churning disgusting: it could not be a more unpatriotic thing than to do this to a war hero, who stayed as prisoner in red terrorist North Nam. I despise Obama, I consider him a closeted thug. I respect him overtly only because he is an elected president of a free democratic country-USA- and when I comment his political actions I show my appreciation for something (what I consider)good what he did and criticize respectfully what I do not agree with one or other of his actions.

Conclusion: Colin started his career in Hollywood with a very good movie. I loved the movie and Bozz.

Thank you for the movie.

Ileana Eliza Paunica a movie maniac.
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HALL OF FAMEon 30 December 2005
Tigerland is a Vietnam war film with a difference. It doesn't have a particular political message regarding Vietnam; it is more of a critique on the culture of warfare in general, where it is difficult to tell the sane from the insane, the true believers from the patriots, and those who simply want to remain alive.
At various points in the film, the commanders in charge of training announce to the platoon that has just made another snafu that they are all dead. 'I'm still alive,' the upstart Bozz (played by Colin Farrell in one of his earliest roles) will almost always announce. At one time, a sergeant tells Bozz that men can't just quit the Army. 'I'm not quitting, I'm just not playing any more,' Bozz calmly announces.
The plot revolves around a platoon at training during the early 1970s, when the horrors of the Vietnam war had been played out on television for the greater part of a decade, and no one really wanted to go as a lowly grunt private. The ultimate in training was Tigerland, a Louisiana swamp area converted into Vietnam-like terrain, for realistic training. Recruit Bozz is almost like a zen master, taking nothing in the training very seriously other than the potential deadening effects it might have on his (and the others' souls). Bozz is a troublemaker to the lock-step training mentality; like many troublemakers, he is in fact a diamond-in-the-rough for leadership, as men naturally follow his lead, and he eventually gets rewarded (or so one might think) with responsibility. However, his primary, self-chosen responsibility seems to be to save people from the Army if they don't warrant being there -- to this end, he helps arrange in ambiguous fashion various types of hardship and disability discharges for others in the platoon, but fails to escape the fate of going to Vietnam himself.
Colin Farrell is the only big 'name' in the film, and when it was filmed, he wasn't yet as well known as he is in the post Recruit/SWAT days. Director Joel Schumacher, known for big-budget blockbusters such as Batman & Robin, filmed this in grainy, shorter film, with no steady cams and harsh cinematography, reflecting the harshness of the training and the unsteady nature of the reality of war. For a Vietnam war film, this film is unique in that it never actually goes to Vietnam; everything is a home-grown re-creation -- perhaps this is another statement on the reality of war?
The roles of Paxton (Matthew Davis) and others recruits in the platoon are played with honesty and integrity; the officers and trainers are bit less realistic at times it seems, but then such officials must needs put on a persona when in such roles, so perhaps this is reflected in the actors' performances as actors in a very different engagement.
The DVD has a few extras, including Colin Farrell's screen test. A fascinating film, enigmatic in its ending and the overall meaning, save to say that perhaps all of war, and most of life generally, is absurd.
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on 1 April 2002
There's something about this inexplicably overlooked little movie that rises it above most Hollywood war movies. Maybe it's the spot-on, identifiable script, the brilliant acting (particularly Matthew Davis, more well-known for his comic turn in the excellent Legally Blonde and the gorgeous Colin Farrell in an interesting big screen debut following his stint in TV's Ballykissangel). Or the varied scenes of the aforementioned Mr.Farrell in the shower.. It tells mostly of the rebellious anti-authoritarian Boz (Farrell), who - despite a hatred of the futility of war - is drafted into Vietnam and is at the training camp preparing to go into the eponymous setting for the real war. He manages to get other people out for various reasons and they escape the war, but somehow only gets himself promoted as his colleagues seem to respect his honesty and frustration more than anyone else. It's a compelling, thought provoking script, heightened by the setting and the acting. Even though I am not a fan of war movies, I really enjoyed this one, as there was real empathy and reason, not just an excuse for scene after scene of bombing: Boz has the unenviable dichotomy of hating the mindlessness of war, but being called up for the army. As someone who lives in fear of just getting called up for jury service, I'm definitely with him on that one!! Let's hope Tigerland gets the success it should have got in the cinemas on this retail release, as it's a well thought out, intelligent film.
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on 11 April 2014
A different kind of movie following the exploits of a bunch of army recruits preparing for deployment to Vietnam. Farrell is the old hand trying to complete basic but has spent most of his time in the guardhouse. Interesting take on a theme and worth a look.
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