The Tiger's Tail John Boorman

The Tiger's Tail John Boorman
Opening up with a traffic jam where Liam O'Leary (Brendan Gleeson) simultaneously observes a newspaper clipping noting the expansive rich/poor divide in Ireland and the vehicular compartmentalization and isolation of the rich that choke the streets, The Tiger's Tail paints its subtext with the heaviest of hands, seemingly approved by Karl Marx himself. Appropriately, Liam is a successful CEO holding onto the tiger's tail — moving forward simply because he can — oblivious to his son's (Briain Gleeson) "workers of the world" rants and his wife's (Kim Cattrall) assertion that she is just another object on his mantle. Of course, the titular allegory wouldn't have meaning unless Liam let go of the tiger's tail and resultantly took a bite in the ass, which he does when a poor doppelganger of himself shows up and quietly steals his life out from under him. From drunken teens vomiting in the streets due to excess binging to Liam's tendency to throw money at people rather than engage them, the capitalist criticism permeates every moment of the film, leaving the surface narrative perplexing at best. Even latter assertions of women as passive objects of fiscal male superiority, in the form of a rape with a happy victim, prove awkward and even a little offensive despite their obvious allegorical implications. This heavy-handed approach certainly communicates the intended communist mantra but will likely leave many wondering about the numerous plot holes left gaping in the face of message. On the upside, Brendan Gleeson certainly makes the most of his dual roles and the gradual shift between them, making the audience aware of which Liam we are dealing with, regardless of hair and make-up. His performance and an overall sense of "what the hell is going on?" almost make the ride worthwhile. Almost. No supplements are included with the DVD. (MGM)