Judge Ben Saylor's double wrote this review, which explains how well written it is.
"I've just seen myself cleaning my windscreen."
Writer-director John Boorman has, over the past several decades, amassed a filmography that is as eclectic as it is variable in quality; for every Point Blank and Deliverance, there's an Exorcist II: The Heretic and Beyond Rangoon. Boorman's 2006 feature The Tiger's Tail, while certainly not the out-and-out misfire Exorcist II represents, nonetheless falls far short of its maker's best work.
Facts of the Case
Liam O'Leary (Brendan Gleeson, 28 Days Later) is a successful Dublin businessman with a bombshell wife, Jane (Kim Cattrall, Ice Princess), and Marxism-spouting son, Connor(Gleeson's real-life son Briain). One day, while driving home, Liam glimpses what appears to be an exact double of him. This man (also played by Gleeson) begins popping up with alarming frequency, although, much to Liam's chagrin, no one else ever sees him. As the double begins to move against Liam—stealing his identity, bedding his wife—the two's positions become reversed, and Liam finds himself an outcast.
One of the more clever conceits of the movie is that Liam's double, in stealing his brother's identity, soon finds himself in over his head when he learns that Liam's firm is on the verge of collapse. But this and other satirical elements of the film are never exploited to their fullest potential, and thanks to yet another silly contrivance, Liam is able to save his company quite easily.
The ending of The Tiger's Tail is also a head-scratcher; Liam determines that his wife has fallen in love with his double and that he (Liam) should step aside. Never mind the fact that this newfound "love" is based on a risible scene in which the double takes Jane to bed by force. Jane resists, but then, inexplicably not only relents but also starts to enjoy herself. Never mind that the double seems indifferent at best to Liam's son, who eventually runs away from home and attempts suicide. Never mind that…well, just never mind.
Ultimately, it's Gleeson who comes away the best from The Tiger's Tail. In a rare lead performance for the actor, Gleeson is excellent in his dual role. Given the absurdity of the film, there is certainly the danger of an actor running wild with these roles (particularly when Liam is sent to the hospital), but Gleeson is smarter than this and delivers an energetic and believable performance(s).
Unfortunately, several of Gleeson's colleagues don't fare so well. Cattrall starts out strong, but her accent is intermittent, and she goes way over the top during a scene when she is confronted by Liam (but who she thinks is the double). It's not all Cattrall's fault; her character is utterly ruined by the afore-mentioned sex scene. Briain Gleeson's Connor is like a commie version of Lukas Haas' arch conservative in Everyone Says I Love You, only not at all amusing to watch. To be fair to Gleeson, though, he's really given some awful material. Cusack has some touching moments as Oona, and Ciarán Hinds (Margot at the Wedding) turns up in a bad haircut for a few scenes to play Father Andy, a childhood friend of Liam's.
MGM's DVD of The Tiger's Tail is satisfactory from a technical standpoint; the image and sound are both in line with what one would expect from a recent theatrical release. There are no extras.
Undone by a ludicrous, implausible script, The Tiger's Tail is recommended only for Boorman completists and/or diehard Gleeson fans.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Review content copyright © 2009 Ben Saylor; Site design and review layout copyright © 2013 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.