Published Oct 23, 2008The Tigers Tail is not a subtle film. Director John Boorman (Deliverance, Zardoz) manages to take an interesting story and continuously bludgeon the plot to death with tedious exposition and gaping holes that would have angered even my high school creative writing teacher (and she let a lot of stuff slide). By not crafting any atmosphere of mystery, Boorman has made an instantly forgettable thriller, a side note in his otherwise impressive filmography.
In an economically divided Dublin, successful businessman Liam OLeary (Brendan Gleeson) is shocked to glimpse a homeless man whos his exact double (this happens in the first four minutes of the film). Before Liam can track his double down, the doppelganger begins to impersonate Liam and eventually manages to take his place. The double romances Liams wife (Kim Catrall) and convinces the police that Liam is the nefarious double. Liam is arrested, committed to a mental institution and can convince no one of his true identity (apparently fingerprints dont exist in this movie).
A similar story was filmed in 1970 with Roger Moore The Man Who Haunted Himself was an adaptation of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode and was more existential in its execution. The Tigers Tail continuously tries to ground itself in reality through family drama and social commentary.
The problem is that the core story is so ludicrously implausible that it can only work as fantasy. Fortunately, the film is often engaging thanks solely to Brendan Gleeson. His performance enriches the insipid script and helps detract attention from the unimpressive supporting cast who thought Kim Cattral could act, let alone do an Irish accent?
Its fitting for a film about the fragility of identity to be, itself, confused and unsure but its not very interesting to watch. (Kinosmith)