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Fairly authentic and very much like Fort Polk in the early 70s.
mbbilbo29 July 2007
While it was filmed at a Florida National Guard site, "Tigerland" totally reminded me of Fort Polk, LA., firing ranges, maneuver areas, waist-deep water and all. The movie was fairly authentic and the characters similar to those same ones at my AIT in 1974. The difference between the Tigerland year, 1971, and mine of 1974 is all the drill sergeants and instructors knew they weren't going back to Vietnam, as it was pretty much all over, so training was very relaxed - not a challenge at all. That was the precursor to all our troubles in the 70s and 80s, which I know for a fact as I stayed in until 2004. I never heard anyone mention "Tigerland" but the Army did have realistic Vietnam training villages at different bases across the U.S. Vietnam Vets tell me that up to 1972 Basic & AIT could be pretty rough and rugged, because the trainers had been there and were mandated to train Vietnam-bound men those skills to make it, although that was not always the case. Both a drill sergeant at Polk and later one of my Vietnam Vet NCOs, when we had become instructors at a basic training brigade at Fort Bliss, told me there was nothing they could do to get anyone ready and people just had to find out and figure out for themselves. This movie rates high.
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Rebel With A Cause
Lechuguilla21 January 2010
American military authority is the enemy for Pvt. Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell), a nonconformist trainee who, along with other infantry trainees, endures brutal, sadistic treatment in preparation for combat in Vietnam. Tigerland is a swampy, steamy camp near Fort Polk, Louisiana that is supposed to simulate conditions in Vietnam. The story is set in 1971.

The amount and severity of physical and verbal aggression displayed in this film may be a tad overstated. But the point the film is making is that many, if not most, of the young guys drafted into the army in the late 60s and early 70s absolutely did not want, or deserve, to be there.

Roland Bozz is one of those young men. He's angry at the war, angry at the army. The army won't release him because they know that's what he wants. If Bozz can't get himself out, the next best thing is to try and get other recruits out. That will be his revenge, his way to fight the system.

A fellow trainee shares his background with Bozz, who then tells the trainee: "I know army regulations the way prisoners know the law. You're a hardship discharge, man, if ever I saw one. Okay. I'll get you out of the army". Bravo for Roland Bozz, a young rebel with a mission, a cause, trapped like the others by an oppressive, controlling institution.

Acting is very, very good. Colin Farrell is terrific, at a time when he, and the rest of the cast, was largely unknown. No need for overpaid A-list actors. The film's acting style trends naturalistic, spontaneous, and emotionally intense. None of the acting seems forced.

With a hand-held camera, combined with grainy film stock, and using quick zooms and unexpected cuts, the cinematography and editing convey a documentary look and feel, which results in sequences that are quite realistic. Lighting is mostly natural. Sets are plain and unadorned. Background music is minimal.

Much better than I ever expected, "Tigerland" is a well-made film with an intense, anti-war theme. It's about putting others ahead of one's own selfish interest. That Hollywood largely shunned this low-budget film is all the more reason to see it.
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Not exactly original but an engaging drama based on real life experience, gritty atmosphere and some good performances
bob the moo13 March 2004
Tiger Land is a tough training camp for the US military. In 1971 it is the final step before the squads go to the war in Vietnam. In training before Tiger Land, one squad of young men is joined by troublemaker Roland Bozz, who continues his military trend of dissention and insubordination. However, his actions do not just affect him and he starts to change his ways slightly, but the stresses and the potential for death in Vietnam push all the men to breaking point.

Sold as a war movie, this film is more like the first half of Full Metal Jacket than a full on war movie set in a combat zone. As such it plays more like a drama than any sort of antiwar movie or outright thriller. The focus of the film is the character of Bozz as told from the biographical point of view of Paxton. The events of the film are pretty predictable for anyone who has seen this type of film before - the internal fights, the crazy soldiers, the domineering sergeant majors etc. However it still manages to be enjoyable and entertaining even if it never really feels original or new. It is a pretty nondescript film with no specific edge on it - and that is part of the reason I think it really didn't do that good business when it was released here in the UK. It relies very heavily on the characters to keep the audience involved in the story and preventing it being seen as just a collection of old ideas; this aspect is helped by the fact that it is drawing on original material, experiences and people.

A much bigger part of the characters being engaging is the playing of them by the cast. Farrell is the lead actor and is miles ahead of everyone else. This film is one of many that made him the star he now is, and he does deserve it off the back of this and he is really good here - coming across as likeable and difficult. Outside of him, everyone plays well but are generally in their various stereotypes; aside from Farrell, Collins is the standout role - too often seen playing gang bangers and such on TV cops shows, he delivers a solid character and presents a believable breakdown over the course of the film.

Keeping my habit of never paying to see an Schumacher film since Batman & Robin took the last faith in his talent, I waited for this to come onto TV. I was surprised however to see that Schumacher managed to do the film without spoiling it - in fact he came across as rather able! He uses mainly handheld cameras and delivers a gritty feel to the whole film that is fitting to the material. I hate to admit it, but he actually did a reasonable job here and he has now done a couple of films that he hasn't ruined in one way or another! I may have to change my mind about not paying for his films - well, maybe not.

Overall this is a rather undistinguished film but one that is enjoyable as a character driven drama, trading on the usual clichés of the genre. It goes where you more or less expect it to but it goes there and takes you with it. Farrell makes a good leading man and on this evidence he is worthy of leading man status where he has good support.
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Not really a war movie.
ERasmussen1415 May 2005
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but it is nothing new.

Everyone here is grouping it with other war movies, this movie has been miscategorized! Its not a war movie any more than "One flew over the cuckoos nest" is a asylum movie or "Cool Hand Luke" is a prison movie. This is a movie about individuality, nonconformity, self-confidence and the costs of that personality type.

The plot is the same as "One flew over the Cuckoos nest" and "Cool Hand Luke", its in GOOD company, and it holds its own. Its these movies it should be held up against and compared, not "Apocalypse Now" or "Platoon".

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Gritty Vietnam-era drama invites critical accolades
Libretio31 January 2005

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Dolby Digital

Louisiana, 1971: During basic training, a rebellious army conscript (Colin Farrell) causes dissension within the ranks.

Given Joel Schumacher's reputation as a schlockmeister par excellence, most critics were caught off-guard by this low-budget drama, filmed without any of the frills and fripperies normally associated with Hollywood blockbusters, and headlined by little more than obscure (but hugely experienced) character actors and talented newcomers, including Farrell, whose bravura performance launched him to international stardom. Far removed from the extravagant Vietnam-operas favored by Francis Ford Coppola and Oliver Stone, Schumacher's film examines the contradictions of war and the dehumanizing effect of combat on ordinary men through the experiences of Farrell's anti-hero, a compassionate man who despises the self-serving patriotic nonsense peddled by his superiors, and who refuses to compromise his own ideals, despite the sometimes painful repercussions of his disobedience.

Though backed by a major studio, TIGERLAND has the look and feel of a low-budget indie production, using hand-held camera-work and grainy film-stock for documentary effect, and this uncompromising 'Dogme'-like approach allows Schumacher to focus his attention on the characters and their situation rather than the pyrotechnics which usually dominate such movies. Farrell may be the star of the show, but he's matched by debut actor Matthew Davis (BLOODRAYNE) as his closest friend and fellow combatant, an aspiring writer who volunteered for duty and who favors intellect and reason over Farrell's reckless bravado. Fine supporting cast, excellent technical credits.
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Amazing, touching, bone-chilling
crisperidge28 October 2004
I had an uncle who committed suicide after serving in Vietnam because of mental problems he experienced after coming back. So when I saw part of this movie one night on a pay-for-view channel I was intrigued. I wanted to know what my uncle went through and felt as he got ready for Vietnam. I went out and rented this movie and I have to say it is the most heart-wrenching film I have ever seen. I bought the DVD immediately after renting it. The way it pulls you in so many different directions emotionally is something I've never experienced with any other film. As far as Vietnam subject films go, I think it is the best one, although Platoon runs a close second. Besides all of that, I think it is also Colin Farrell's best performance as an actor. I like him in most of his movies but in this one he was incredible. I gave this a 10 rating because it is one of my top five favorite movies.
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Schumacher's best effort thus far
george.schmidt28 April 2004
TIGERLAND (2000) ***1/2 Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Collins, Jr., Thomas Guiry, Shea Whigham, Russell Richardson, Nick Searcy, Afemo Omilani, James McDonald, Keith Ewell, Arian Ash, Haven Gaston, Cole Hauser. Filmmaker Joel Schumacher makes an audacious attempt to rekindle his directing juices in this low-budget semi-independent film about Vietnam with a cast of unknowns that works remarkably well. Set circa 1971 Louisiana in a special Army training camp for new recruits prior to shipment in the ongoing war and told in flashback by one of the survivors the film centers its bare bones plot around the able shoulders of Irish newcomer Farrell in a potential star-making turn as Private Roland Bozz (think 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' in fatigues and you get the overall impression), a feckless troublemaker of his platoon whose antics have a method to his madness: keeping yourself alive despite the odds. Raw and uncompromising are best suited to describe the film's gist and in particular its focus of Bozz leading his comrades in arms through their hellish grunt duty prior to their fated dooms. Original and smartly written by Ross Klaven and Michael McGruther giving their characters a fresh spin on an all too familiar genre with humanity at its core.
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Very good
preppy-32 December 2002
War drama that takes place in Louisiana in 1971. It follows a bunch of recruits through basic training and then Tigerland--an accurate portrayal of Vietnam on American soil, before they're shipped over. It focuses on two men--Booz (Colin Farrell) and Paxton (Matthew Davis)...how they meet, become friends and deal with a corwardly squadron leader (Clifton Collins Jr.) and a borderline psycho (Shea Wingham).

A surprisingly non-commercial film directed by Joel Schumacher. He uses a hand-held camera throughout most of the movie and uses digital video for the combat scenes. It works very well--the film looks gritty (as it should) and uncomfortably realistic.

Farrell successfully covers up his Irish brogue and adopts a pretty convincing Southern accent. His performance is just superb--he's an extremely talented young man. Davis, unfortunately, is not that good. He's tall, muscular, very handsome--and very bland. The rest of the cast however is just great.

This film was thrown away by its studio. It had no stars in it, a familar story and was considered "just another war film". It only played a week in Boston! It's well worth catching on video or DVD.

Also, Farrell and Davis have a lengthy nude scene.
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"Why would I want to do that to another human being?"
doug_park200114 June 2013
TIGERLAND takes place entirely within the confines of Infantry Training at Fort Polk, LA, and its immediate surroundings, 1971. The film itself does NOT actually go to Vietnam.

The whole character of Roland Bozz (memorably played by Colin Farrell) is utterly intriguing. He's a bit overblown: A would-be perfect soldier, perfect leader, perfect shot, in perfect physical and mental condition. . .a rough, cynical, yet still paradoxically gentle character who just doesn't like armies and war and killing. Nevertheless, I think it would have detracted from the film if Bozz were not a bit larger-than-life. Ditto for the other characters, including the sergeants (both the cruel, sadistic, war-maddened ones and the tough but professional ones) and the other trainees (an interesting and convincing bunch of mixed motivations). While TIGERLAND's plot is quite gripping, it's essentially a character-driven film in the end, and the exemplary acting by just about everyone is what makes it such a success.

I've noticed some other reviewers'--some of whom actually trained at Fork Polk during the Vietnam years--objections to TIGERLAND's depiction of the U.S. Army, particularly in regards to its training methods and employment of borderline-psychotic instructors. Duly noted, but it's safe to say that the U.S. military HAS made ample use of such methods/people at various times and places in the past. The film may not be perfectly realistic in every respect; however, it's also important to remember that it's set at a time when America, though still anemically hoping to win in Vietnam and still sending unfortunate draftees to same, was also trying to extricate itself from a war whose futility was becoming increasingly obvious. TIGERLAND captures the special malaise of the early '70s war with dead-eyed accuracy. Most importantly of all, it's a compelling portrayal of an anti-hero fighting against an army and system that doesn't play by any fair rules--not even its own.
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Another risky movie from Joel Schumacher; good technical qualities and great acting. ***1/2 (out of four)
Movie-1231 January 2001
TIGERLAND / (2000) ***1/2 (out of four)

By Blake French:

Throughout the years audiences have seen and understood war films with every point of view possible, and somehow producers and writers always come up with new and innovative methods of portraying various soldiers on the battlefield. Joel Schumacher ("8MM," "A Time to Kill"), easily one of the riskiest directors currently working, has found resemblance with "The Thin Red Line" in the way his new drama "Tigerland" steps in an individual soldier's shoes. This movie, written by Ross Klavan and Michael McGuther, has more guts and irony than "The Thin Red Line" or even "Saving Private Ryan." Although the movie's dramatic impact is somewhat lessened due to the perversity of the material present, it certainly enlightens us on a new perspective of young men training for war.

I would want to know Joel Schumacher's experiences with the army. Are the men really this unabashed and brutal? I am sure some of them are, but the movie views its uncompromising world through the eyes of a young man named Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell), who is rebellious against the ideas of war. His personality instantly counteracts with several other characters, one who becomes his best friend, Paxton (Matthew Davis), and another, Wilson (Russell Richardson), whose flamed temper often exasperates Bozz's tension with the idea of going to war. The war depicted in this production is not found on a battlefield, but on training grounds of a Louisiana-based instruction camp between conceptions and fears of the soldiers in training. This film is specifically about the preparation for war, nothing more nothing less. It ends when the soldiers finally go to war, kind of disappointing since witnessing the characters in action would have served as a supurb payoff.

Shot on location in about 28 days using 16mm stock and a minuscule budget, Joel Schumacher accurately displays a gritty, perverse, cruel, and unmerciful atmosphere using hand-held cinematography, unique lighting techniques and direct sound. Schumacher's grainy and blown-out images make the movie feel like a documentary feature. This unusual style of filmmaking only contributes to the hard core realism of the movie, quite graphic in its use of coarse language, perhaps a little too disturbing. Waves of four-letter words pound the audience, some in shock of what they are hearing. Even the extreme amount of vulgarism does not keep the dialogue from prevailing as heartbreaking, true, and emotional.

If anything, "Tigerland" provides us with a minor appreciation of how much our soldiers go through for our country in the beginning stages of combat. Such bravery must it take to enlist in the army during times of war, knowing the hardships and risks that are being taken. Such thought-provoking ideas are made possible through the heartbreaking performances by the young aspiring actors who portray the various trainees. This movie is not for all audiences, but one that young men should take a look at before enlisting themselves in the army...and adult audiences should watch to appreciate the courage needed to do such.
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Not very accurate
denryter1891924 September 2009
It's been awhile since I saw it and would not waste my time watching it again but as a Nam vet and NCO who went through Tigerland twice, once as a trainee and once as a training sergeant, this movie was very disappointing. Not real historically accurate on many fronts. Most importantly this whole deal about Bozz being such an individualist and non conformist is pure nonsense. The whole point of military training, especially for combat infantry is to eliminate individualism and get everyone playing on the same team. There is no room for non conformity in combat. Our combat units could not be effective if we had any doubt of what to expect from the guy or the unit next to us. Guys like the Bozz character depicted in this movie end up in the stockade or at least get run out of combat units. Although not technically a war movie because it covers only training for war, it is a movie whose central theme is about Vietnam and on that note I found it to be the second worst Vietnam genre movie behind only that miserable piece of garbage, Tunnel Rats.
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It Was Always Muddy
bkoganbing28 May 2010
It is certainly interesting to write a review about a film that took place where I actually resided for two months. In September of 1971 when this film is set, your's truly was doing his basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. I did get to the North Fort at one point in my training where the infamous Tigerland was located. In fact Tigerland was a nickname given to the whole northern part of the army base.

I was doing the basic training to be a weekend warrior and avoid Vietnam. But I saw so many of the kids who were just like the ones portrayed in the film it was actually a rather nerve wrecking old home week. In 1971 everyone except the policy makers in Washington knew that this was going to end when as Senator George Aiken declared, we said we won and then went home. And of course the South Vietnamese government we were protecting would fold like a napkin.

By that time the army was scraping the bottom for soldier material and you can see it in the company of men that are in Tigerland. This is where more soldiers shipped for Vietnam than any other place in the nation. The Louisiana swamps best approximated the climate conditions of Vietnam.

This particular company has a real odd ball in it with Colin Farrell. He's doing his best to get out of the army, but the army just won't oblige him. So he's waging his own war against them by becoming a 'barracks lawyer' and getting others out. And he's driving the officers and NCOs quite nuts doing it.

I would rate Tigerland a lot higher because there is much I liked about the film. It was not shot at Fort Polk, but in places that gave you feel of the place. What I remember best about it was rain and mud. In that summer of 1971 it rained nearly every single day I was there. But the rain and sometimes it would come a few times a day. Would be a sudden downpour, maybe at most 20 minutes then it would cool off and then resume being muggy. And the ground couldn't absorb it fast enough so it was always muddy. You did your best work in that brief period after rain stopped it was then actually decent enough for normal activities.

What I couldn't quite grasp was Colin Farrell's motivations for what he was doing. I blame that on the writer and also the director.

As for the other players the best in the cast was Thomas Guiry playing this poor sad sack kid from the Louisiana bayous. I met a few just like him, he stopped his formal education at the 6th grade. It was a touching performance on Guiry's part.

So here's to Fort Polk, not a place I recommend, but sometimes a place which is needed to train our soldiers. It got a good film, but not a great one in its honor.
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Could this movie make up its mind, please!
gts-330 June 2001
"Tigerland" is a mixed bag.

As for being most definetly a career move, it´s a very clever one. Right after the intriguingly flawed "Falling Down" (1993) Mr. Schumacher was trying to kill his reputation by playing the hired-gun-director in a both megalomaniac and boring string of alternating John-Grisham- and Batman-movies. Somebody must have told him or maybe he sensed it himself, for "Flawless" (1999) and even "8 MM" (1998)tried to be real, stand-alone-movies and not part of a merchandising campaign. "Tigerland" looks like an even more radical departure from mainstream-big-bucks-movie-making. No stars, hand held camera, bleached out colors, blurred images: any- and everything in here - while Mr. Schumacher starts increasingly resembling a real director, an artist who cares about his art again - is shouting: ART! IMPORTANT! MESSAGE!

But that´s exactly the point where the problems start to overshadow the movie´s clever performance. Not for a single moment does "Tigerland" know weather it wants to be an anti-Vietnam movie in particular or an anti-war movie in general or a study on the effects of harsh, often even inhuman military training on young, unsuspecting males or a melodramatic comedy or a buddy movie or a too-clever-for-its-own-good-remake of Walter Hill´s masterpiece "Southern Comfort" (1981). If you don´t believe me check out the young leading man´s motivations and actions. He is introduced as a troublemaker who just can´t help causing trouble because the army and he match like heaven and hell. Keeping up some pretense of staying in character the film makers show him arranging to go A.W.O.L while constantly fighting his somehow dim witted and brutish superiors. But they´re not that brutal and dim witted as not to notice that our anti-war-hero is the best soldier in the whole rookie-platoon and a born leader too. Consequently he doesn´t leave camp but acknowledges his responsibilities. The longer the movie is running the more does it back my suspicion that for box-office-reasons Mr. Schumacher secretly wants his audience to root for "Tigerland"´s hero because of his warrior´s abilities and not because of his contrasting, alas half-hearted tries to desert the army. Needless to say that this attitude undermines any of the film´s pretenses to be more than the average war-is-hell-but-someone-has-to-do-the-job-flick.

Don´t let "Tigerland´s" visual design fool you. And in case you want to see a really good movie about the effects of war an young men, give John Irvin´s much underrated, and unjustly so, "Hamburger Hill" (1987) a second chance.
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Just another anti-war message
batman4810 March 2006
I was there in 1970. Most of the things that went on in this movie could never have happened unless as an isolated incident. Things like torture, etc. were never suggested or encouraged; in fact we were warned strongly and seriously against violations of military procedures. And the beatings of enlisted men by non-coms would surely have been reported and investigated by other non-coms and officers. These were enlisted men and draftees, not Special Forces or an elite covert unit! This movie turns out to be just another addition to the list of Hollywood fantasy pieces that claim realism but toss away truth when it gets in the way of their anti-war theme. For me, it was a very disappointing film.
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Not So Bad.
rmax30482326 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I'd gotten the impression that this was just another autobiographical study of the hardships of an Army training camp, rather like "Jarhead." Instead, it's an interesting piece about suffering, responsibility, and testosterone.

It's 1971. Colin Farrell and Mathew Davis are friends, sort of, just out of basic training, now in infantry school in the Louisiana. The final week is spent at an isolated camp which replicates the conditions of Vietnam, called Tigerland. Soldiers speak of Tigerland in hushed, frightened voices.

I don't know why they dread it so much because, as it turns out, except for one psychopathic maniac, it's not that much worse than infantry school. The sergeants should foul curses at the men, shove them, kick them, beat them to the ground and literally make them eat dirt.

Plaudits for the photography, the casting, the performances, and the direction, which, thank Bog, doesn't use a wobbling camera except for a few minutes during a live fire exercise. No CGIs and no slow motion action. Nobody runs away from an exploding fireball. Nothing explodes. What a relief.

The plot is an amalgam of elements familiar from other stories. There is the non-conformist who invites disaster by not cowering like everyone else -- "From Here To Eternity," "Cool Hand Luke." The soldier who is a natural leader of men but continually turns down responsibility -- "To Hell And Back," "Fixed Bayonets." The main message of the movie shouldn't raise anyone's hackles. Vietnam was a pointless shedding of blood, but it's not the Army's fault. They do everything possible to prepare the men for combat, even if it looks (and is) sadistic. The war was foolish but the men in uniform aren't to blame. How can it be wrong?
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Just because you wear those sergeant's stripes doesn't mean you ain't gonna die.
Spikeopath26 May 2010
Tigerland was the name of a U.S. Army training camp located at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Tagged as the second worst part of the Earth, it was a recreation of the Vietnamese jungle and was used to prepare American soldiers for the hellish terrain they were soon to be fighting in.

Directed by Joel Schumacher, Tigerland stars Colin Farrell as Private Roland Bozz, a reluctant recruit to the war effort who upsets his superiors by having a canny knack for exploiting loop holes in the rule book. However, it's evident that Bozz has leadership qualities, but can the officers convince him he is born to lead?

By the time of Tigerland's release, the Vietnam movie had apparently run its course. The announcement that Joel Schumacher was to delve into the conflict for his next movie was met with less than enthusiastic responses. This was after all the director who had not too long prior reduced the once darkly watchable Batman franchise to comedy campy ham overdrive. Alarm bells were further starting to go off when it was revealed that it was to be a short low budget shoot of 28 days, with a cast of unknowns and filmed in grainy 16 millimetre. Yet two things were forgotten by his many detractors. One was that Schumacher had showed himself capable of guiding a young vibrant cast to high levels of watch-ability (The Lost Boys), and two, that he had made Falling Down in the early 90s, thus tricky and darker edged material was not beyond him.

Tigerland is a fine film, there is no actual conflict to observe other than the interactions between Bozz, his fellow squadies and his superiors. This is more boot camp drama than a film about military engagements. But the impact is much the same as our group of young men prepare for a fate that doesn't exactly have favourable odds; their respective reasons for being there in the first place containing varying degrees of bravado or disbelief. To which, much to his initial bemusement, Bozz simultaneously becomes a beacon of hope to many and a figure for revilement. The out-shot of this is that Tigerland winds up an expertly crafted movie, one that is propelled by great acting and one that quietly sneaks up on you and cloaks you in sadness.

Schumacher is not the sole reason for why the film works so well though, he had some quality help. Ross Klavan and Michael McGruther's screenplay rises above the character clichés that exist in every army training camp based movie. Helped enormously by Klavan drawing on his real life experiences in the army, Tigerland doesn't hurtle towards its climax (a climax that is understated and poignant), it takes its time, characters are formed and with the then unknown Farrell on stupendously bewitching form, it's as engaging as a Vietnam film gets. This in spite of the grim look of the piece as Matthew Libatique's cinematography strips away vibrant colours and uses murky greys and greens to put the viewer right in there with them at boot camp. The look, the feel and the story all pull together nicely, making Tigerland fit to be mentioned in the same breath as those popular Vietnam movies from the previous decades. 8/10
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Fresh, and gritty
mm-393 July 2001
This movie is done on a low budget. It looks like they used the actual government training center, and many parts were realistic. A few parts of the movie were over the top. This movie is fresh, and gritty; I like the realism of the film. The hero or anti hero is a nice guy, in wolf's skin. (I've met people like him) It shows how cruel the system can be and the merits of playing by your own rules. In the end I like this film.
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Tigerland isn't real
rt198527 July 2005
The movie Tigerland is a work of pure movie fiction. Nothing about it rings true: not the actor's accents, not the way the actors wore their uniforms, not the dialog and certainly not the training scenes. The most obvious fiction is showing the soldiers thinking and analyzing and philosophizing so much. In fact the soldiers in Tigerland were always too busy and or too tired to do much thinking , analyzing and philosophizing. When they did talk it was mostly about their lives before the Army and plans for their lives after. Mostly when they had free time they slept. I should know. I went through basic training and Tigerland at Fort Polk, Louisiana in 1967.
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Film is a joke
omsn-594503 May 2015
if you expect to view anything close to the way the Army was in that era. I went through basic training at Fort Polk in 1972. It was nothing like this film portrays ... the barracks and mess hall were made of what was called World War II wood -- the typical barracks design that housed millions of soldiers in World War II. That was not what was portrayed in the film. I could tell that the film was not filmed in Louisiana and looked it up -- filmed in Florida. Some filming at Camp Blanding - and I've been there but didn't recognize any of the areas from the camp in the film. I don't know about 1971, but in early 1972 the Vietnam war was drawing down and NO ONE from my company was sent to Vietnam. Personally, I was assigned to Germany. The conduct and troop interaction portrayed in the movie was unlike anything I witnessed at Fort Polk. First, no NCO (sergeant) or officer laid a hand on any recruit. There was no friction among soldiers as portrayed in the movie and no racial issues. We did have one guy who refused to take a bath and several platoon members threw him in a dumpster to get his attention and that worked. It is true that the Army was in very bad shape during that era. I and other new soldiers there were subjected to a lot of harassment, but many things were done as teaching points to help us survive if we had of been sent to Vietnam. Oh yeah, I pulled KP and never had to peel a potato - the Army had machines to peel potatoes in 1972.
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Good Or Bad ?
Theo Robertson24 February 2003
The opening scenes of TIGERLAND with army recruits being screamed at by NCOs are very reminiscent of FULL METAL JACKET . In fact the more TIGERLAND goes on the more you`ll be reminded of PLATOON , SPR , SOUTHERN COMFORT etc . This is by no means an original film . That said TIGERLAND does have some impressive aspects like the performances . If you don`t know this already let me point out that Colin Farrell is from Dublin in Ireland . It`s impossible to not notice this in real life as he talks in an almost indecipherable Irish brouge . Here however he`s utterly convincing as Bozz a reluctant recruit from Texas . Likewise the director Joel Schumacher directs with immense skill making the film look like a fly on the wall documentary . In fact I often forget that this was a feature film and I was watching something that actually took place . Oh and this is the same Joel Schumacher who directed BATMAN and ROBIN . Yup

The script is rather strange however . It rightly points out the unpopularity of the Vietnam war and how the American army was totally demoralised by it in 1971 . By this time American officers and NCOs were in as much danger of being fragged by their own men than by the enemy and there were almost as many servicemen being treated for opium poisoning in South East Asia than were treated for battlefield wounds , but this leads to a major plothole : Why are so many Americans still accepting the draft when they don`t want to ? I do notice that Bozz takes the part of a barrack room lawyer and allows some of these extremely reluctant recruits to be exempted which means they don`t have to emigrate or look over their shoulder on the run from the draft but it`s almost as if they knew they`d be meeting Bozz at boot camp . Doesn`t this strike you as hopelessly contrived ? And I`m very confused as to why Bozz wants to stay in the army since he doesn`t want to be there either

All in all TIGERLAND is a success down to its rising star and director . But be warned if you`re a lover of blood and guts war films you`ll be rather disappointed and ironically if you hate war films you`ll also hate this too
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Underrated Drama About The Draft During The Vietnam War With A Great Colin Farrell
gogoschka-111 February 2018
This was the film that put Colin Farrell on the map. Great, character-driven drama about the Vietnam war era and the draft with all its consequences. Farrell shows amazing leading-man charisma, and after his performance here it was clear he was going to be a huge star. 8 stars out of 10.

In case you're interested in more underrated masterpieces, here's some of my favorites:

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Extraordinary documentary style character study with the Vietnam war in background
CarsonTrent11 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Really touching story of a recruitment camp in America, where young men are prepared for the Vietnam war. The human study always appealed to me when it comes to war movies, because it translates personal, subjective opinions on war, opposed war action movies where action, and technical data are being analyzed to the prejudice of the human factor.

The movie manages to put a new spin on an already ancient subject, and manages to distance itself from usual war movies, especially by focusing on an anti-hero from the view-point of traditional standard. The movie focuses on the tragic character of Bozz, who smartly avoids being sucked in by the dehumanizing war machine, and refuses to give up control over his destiny and fight for something he doesn't believe in, spends his energy in searching ways to avoid being sent overseas, both for himself and comrades and ironically ends up finding his own just reason for finally going to war. Perfect irony.

The acting is truly exceptional, and the documentary-style shooting almost makes you feel transposed into the movie. Also the movie will provide food for thought for those exhilarated by the action in usual war movies or war-games enthusiasts, hopefully awakening some minds of a generation which luckily escaped the terror of being drafted.
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Grab Bag? Sure, why not? (spoilers)
sysnuk3r7 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First off, this movie was a wild ride the whole way. The story of the training of the soldiers, fighting with their superiors, and in the end grouping together.

From the very beginning to the very end. This is one War Drama worth seeing if you are in for the constant cussing (at times beyond reason) and the horrors of what boot camp are.

The dynamics of how the actors interacted was quite amazing at times, and sometimes humorous. How Bozz (Colin Farrel) deals with Paxton (Matthew Davis) throughout the storyline, from camp to Tigerland, and even in the end helping him.

The innovative free-hand filming did add a certain taste or flavor to the film. Constant moving, constant action, and just constant confusion. At times, it was a help. Others, not so much.

Throughout the film, it was increasingly realistic. Some points in the film (the sex scenes in particular) seemed to be just a tad too realistic even though they added an effect to the movie that wouldn't have been there without them. it was a very gritty movie, through and through.

In my opinion, this is one of Colin Farrel's better movies (if not his top performance). The acting for every character was superb. 9/10 -sysnuk3r
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Colin Farrell is Mesmerizing!
noralee12 December 2005
"Tigerland" is a Vietnam War movie the way that "The Unforgiven" is a Western.

It's more a Universal Soldier movie, as "Fortunate Son" is not on the soundtrack, or virtually any other period music. It is comparable to the fine, underrated "Full Metal Jacket" as it's more about basic training than Vietnam. It certainly won't be a recruiting film for Today's Army that is trying to use participatory Sigma Quality Management Circles to retain better educated soldiers.

Colin Farrell is mesmerizing as the Rebel With A Cause--to clear the Army of misfits, sadists and undesirables, including himself. There's a neat, original scene when he gets a tough barking sergeant to reveal his first name.

In general, young hard-bodies are feasts for the eyes, even if it's hard to tell crew-cutted objects apart.

The cinematography looks effectively TV newsreelish, especially as it's really a memory play about our youth looming large and mythic over the rest of our lives.

(originally written 10/7/2000)
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Low morale movie
muhammadaliphotographer6 September 2018
This is not a motivational or survival movie, I don't think a real soldiers are like that. I don't have some decent words to criticise this film.o
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