Published Oct 23, 2008Far more interested in political and ideological didactics than any sort of coherent narrative arc, The Tigers Tail acts mainly as a rage-filled indictment against capitalistic folly with all the subtlety of a Monty Python sketch. It is truly a bizarre thing to behold, harnessing both intellectual insight and undergraduate socialist rants with the same attempted sleight of hand and a seeming lack of objectivity about it.
While antipathy for the gaping class imbalance that rapid prosperity and capitalist ideals have brought to modern day Ireland (and other parts of the world) is not unfounded or even necessarily misguided, a more coherently articulated argument, in the form of a digestible parable, might have been a more effective means of communicating said rage.
The workers of the world cinematic manifesto manifest themselves via the story of Liam OLeary (Brendan Gleeson), a smug and passionless capitalist on the verge of building his own stadium regardless of any naysayers who stand in his way. His trophy wife (Kim Cattrall) hates him and his communist son Connor (Briain Gleeson) loathes both him and his moral compass.
When Liams destitute doppelganger pops into his life and attempts to take it over, the fragility of material gains reveal themselves, along with some lessons about what really matters in life and some scattered critiques of dilapidated social services and a clogged infrastructure.
Borderline surreal images of privileged teens clogging the streets and repeatedly vomiting to symbolize excess, and over-the-top scenes within a crowded hospital are juxtaposed with a narrative that often attempts to play it straight. In fact, much of the film is off-putting and peculiarly assembled, reaching its height with a marital rape scene that ends with a happy victim.
This is not to condemn the film entirely, as it is certainly engaging, at least on a pseudo-academic and surrealist level. It simply would have been more successful if packaged with a little more cohesion. (Kinosmith)