"Over the Edge"
What You Need To Know:
Despite an uplifting, redemptive and moral ending, and an excellent performance by Farrell, TIGERLAND is irreparably marred by constant foul language, which totals at least 278 obscenities and 54 profanities. There is also strong depicted fornication in one scene and extensive upper and rear nudity. Finally, like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN before it, TIGERLAND includes some anti-patriotic behavior by its “positive” role models and diminishes the number of committed Christians who always serve in the armed forces of the United States
(RoRo, C, BB, APAP, RH, LLL, VVV, SSS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Romantic worldview of society corrupting noble men, mixed with Christian, redemptive & moral elements (including distraught man prays & cries while holding crucifix) but marred by anti-patriotism & revisionist history regarding the number of Christian soliders in the armed forces; at least 278 mostly strong obscenities, 54 mostly strong profanities & obscene gesture; strong violence including soldiers in training get into several brutal fights, attempted murder & intense arguments filled with anger; strong depicted fornication in one scene & men solicit prostitutes in another scene; upper & rear male & female nudity; alcohol use, drunkenness & visits to bars & strip joints serving alcohol; smoking & marijuana use despicted; and, sarcastic, cynical soldier constantly bucks military authorities, gets into fights with colleagues & goes AWOL at times but also becomes a leader, protects weaker men who shouldn’t be in the Army & learns respect from a superior officer who’s served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Like the recently released movies REMEMBER THE TITANS and ALMOST FAMOUS, TIGERLAND is a Vietnam era story that will probably be remembered at Oscar time next year. It’s an excellently filmed story that, however, strays too far over the edge in a couple of important moral areas.
Colin Farrell plays a sarcastic, cynical soldier named Roland Bozz who constantly bucks military authorities, gets into fights with colleagues and goes AWOL at times while training for Vietnam in Louisiana in 1971. Matthew Davis plays his buddy, Jim Paxton, who enlisted in the Army so he can write books like James Jones, the author of the famous World War II novel, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. Despite his angry nature, Bozz begins to help weaker men in his unit to gain honorable discharges. It is clear that these men will not last long in Vietnam, so Bozz, in effect, is saving their lives, much to the chagrin of his superior officers. Bozz, however, makes enemies with one of his fellow trainees, a man named Wilson played by Shea Whigham. This proves to be a dangerous move when the men are sent to Tigerland, a special training area in the swamps meant to simulate the Vietnamese jungle. It is the men’s last stop before they’re sent off to war.
Joel Schumacher, the director of a couple of the recent BATMAN movies, directs TIGERLAND in a bleached-out newsreel style. Although this technique at times seems like an unnecessary affectation, it elicits raw, intensely personal performances from his actors, especially Farrell, who deserves at least an Oscar nomination for his portrayal. Farrell’s Bozz is a compelling, complex character who begins to earn the viewer’s respect just as he begins to earn the respect of his fellow soldiers. Eventually, he does the right thing, even though his methods, and actions, often leave a lot to be desired. By the time of the movie’s all-important last two scenes, the viewer realizes that he or she has just spent time with one of the most interesting movie characters in recent years.
Despite an uplifting, redemptive and mostly moral ending, TIGERLAND is marred irreparably by constant foul language, which totals, by our count, 278 obscenities and 54 profanities. The movie also depicts graphic fornication in one early scene and extensive upper and rear nudity, though not full nudity. Finally, like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN before it, TIGERLAND includes some anti-patriotic behavior by its positive role models and diminishes the number of committed Christians who always serve in the armed forces of the United States. In a crucial, quiet scene, however, Bozz learns an important lesson about how to be a good American soldier from a sergeant who has served two tours of duty in Vietnam. The sergeant tells Bozz and the other soldiers that they must respect their superior officers, respect themselves and, most importantly of all, respect the enemy which they will eventually have to fight. This is a great provocative scene that seems to have a positive, sobering effect on Bozz, and it didn’t require all of the filthy, profane language that fills the rest of the moments during the running time of TIGERLAND! Too bad there couldn’t have been more scenes like it.