Tigerland

 

Tigerland

Screenplay by Ross Klaven & Michael McGruther

Directed by Joel Schumacher

2000

 

Cast:

Colin Farrell

Matthew Davis

Clifton Collins, Jr

Tom Guiry

Shea Whigham

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Regency Pictures

Video: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

 

Video:

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD-50

Runtime: 101 minutes

Chapters: 23

Region: A (others untested)

 

Audio

English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Spanish & Polish Dolby Digital 5.1

French & Catalan DTS 5.1

Czech & Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0

English Dolby Digital 2.0 (commentary)

 

Subtitles

English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish

 

Extras:

• Commentary by director Joel Schumacher

• The Real Tigerland - in HD (21:40)

  1. Joel Schumacher: Journey to Tigerland – in HD (10:05)

  2. Ross Klavan: Ode to Tigerland – in HD (10:50)

• Making-of featurette – (4:15)

• Casting session with Colin Farrell – (6:30)

• Theatrical trailer

• TV Spots

 

Presentation:

Amaray Blu-ray Case: BRD x 1

Release Date: May 24, 2011



Introduction

Joel Schumacher, the man who took Howard Beale’s immortal “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” to its anarchic conclusion in “Falling Down” (1993), and the oddly camp “Batman and Robin” (1997), decided to dial down the budget in his not-war movie “Tigerland” made way back in 2000, some 35 years after Vietnam.  But then Tigerland isn’t really about that war, but the business of turning men into soldiers, of stripping them of what humanity they may have and turning them into killing machines.

 

One glance at the jacket cover and the word “Vietnam” prominently placed in the ads and trailers, you could be forgiven for anticipating a movie along the lines of, say, “Full Metal Jacket.”  And you’d be about half right.  For Tigerland refers not to the jungles of Southeast Asia but a military training area in Louisiana.


     

 

Critical Reaction: 6

[The Onion A.V. Club]:

Leading a stellar cast of unknowns, charismatic Irish actor Colin Farrell stars as a rebellious draftee determined to get himself and his fellow soldiers discharged from the Army. It's 1971, and the air of futility and disillusionment about the war effort has begun to infect some in the unit who admire Farrell's stubborn resistance to the camp's sadistic rituals, which are ostensibly designed to prepare them for the front lines. Farrell's increasing influence over the other troops—most notably the narrator (Matthew Davis), a would-be writer who wants to channel his war experience into novels like James Jones or Hemingway—results in his ironic ascent to squad leader.


The idea of one man conducting a protest from within (and in doing so, echoing the tenor of the time) is the most novel aspect of Tigerland, driven home entirely on the strength of Farrell's superb performance. But beyond his sly deflation of army braggadocio, the rest of the film is a middling run-through of dehumanizing camp routines, with familiar character types and too many poetic speeches. The use of handheld cameras and natural light, courtesy of Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem For A Dream) cinematographer Matthew Libatique, gives at least a superficial impression of realism and urgency. But, despite Schumacher's calculated attempt to escape the Hollywood style, Tigerland isn't all that far removed. – Scott Tobias


     

 

[NY Times]:

Joel Schumacher's ''Tigerland,'' a boot-camp drama that is ostentatiously raw and real and without the stars who have decorated Mr. Schumacher's other pictures. The look of the film -- shot in grainy, bleached-out 16-millimeter with enough jumpy hand-held camera work to win the Dogma 95 seal of approval -- promises toughness and grit. But looks deceive: beneath the rough verite exterior beats the same slick, corny heart that has pumped blood (and money) through Mr. Schumacher's ''Batman'' and John Grisham pictures, his revanchist provocation ''Falling Down,'' and, most unforgettably, ''St. Elmo's Fire.''


. . . if you make frequent, carefully timed trips to the bathroom and the concession stand you may be able to enjoy the modest, visually gripping war movie ''Tigerland'' stubbornly prevents itself from becoming. The script, by Ross Klavan and Michael McGruther, has moments of idiomatic brilliance (none of them quotable here), but it also includes some cringe-worthy moments, like a homesick, semiliterate G.I.'s speech about how the same moon that shines on him peeling potatoes in the mess hall also shines on his purty little wife back home, and on Vietnam too. The film is also full of liberal cop-outs on the matter of race. In the Deep South in 1971, in a unit full of Southerners, there seems to be exactly one white racist, who also happens to be a coward and a murderous sociopath. As in ''The Hurricane'' and ''The Green Mile,'' bigotry is presented as an individual pathology rather than a social disorder.  – A.O. Scott


     

 

Image: 6/6

Shot with handheld 16 mm cameras and then subjected to an olive drab (accent on the “drab”) bleaching, Tigerland has a quasi-documentary feel that strikes me as neither fish nor fowl – neither a documentary nor a fleshed out drama. (I liked that the introductory Fox logo is also bleached and a little grainy so as not to frighten us when the feature starts.)  I’m not a big fan of handheld camera work to start with – and the idea of applying it to anything other than battle scenes (as was the case, literally ad nauseum, in the Oscar wining “Hurt Locker”) strikes like lazy filmmaking to me. 

 

As for the image itself, there is no fine detail detail to speak of (and that’s being kind), in its place a good deal of expected and warranted grain (some scenes heavier than others), contrast is muted with greyed blacks and clipped highlights, some edge enhancement, and some noise in both light and dark areas.  The image is sharper and somewhat better resolved than the DVD, but it also gives the impression of having been more processed, perhaps because you can see deeper into the filmmakers’ intentions: ugly, like the war and everything it stands for.


     

 

Audio & Music: 7/7

Despite that Tigerland is mostly dialogue driven – which itself is something of a surprise, considering all the training we expect to see -  with rear channels more active per the music score, random machine gun fire and barracks chatter, the audio is fairly robust and always clear and crisp.

 

Extras: 6

There are three new features in addition to those found on the old DVD – all in HD, one of them: “The Real Tigerland” in which we hear from real life trainees, is well worth your time.


     

 

Recommendation: 6

Tigerland may be one of Joel Schumacher’s better efforts, and he certainly gets very good performances from his young cast (with Irish newcomer Colin Farrell’s passable Texan, accent and all), but the script is more hokey and less insightful about the dehumanizing aspects of war - specifically the training of men to be killers - than it hopes to be.  Image and audio quality is not what you want to demonstrate your HD system with, though both are an upgrade from the DVD.


     

 

 

Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

May 28, 2011

 


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