After the Batman And Robin fiasco, Joel Schumacher has gone back to basics - low budget, handheld camerawork with minimal trickery. It's a decision that's paid off handsomely. Tigerland is an absorbing film that avoids most Vietnam movie clichés by concentrating on its hero's dilemma - what price will you pay to change the system?
Irish actor Colin Farrell gives a sterling performance as Boz; a satirist who's suddenly catapulted into the position of anti-establishment hero, and finds he has to engage with men he's used to mocking from a distance. Suddenly his actions have wider consequences, his rebellion is affecting other recruits' lives - and maybe setting them up to get killed - but the only alternative seems to be to buy into the cult of the warrior-hero. It's a subtle depiction of subtle issues, and the muddy, chaotic realism of the battle scenes contrasts nicely with the shaky machismo of barracks life and the bliss of drug and alcohol-addled weekend leave.
Less about Vietnam, more about how life conspires to make some men heroes whether they want it or not, this is a powerful, surprising film that should make a star of Farrell, and shows us a whole new Schumacher. Long may it continue!
DVD extras include: director's commentary, four-part Colin Farrell screen test, making-of behind featurette (five minutes), original trailer and TV spots, Dolby digital 5.1 sound in English or French options, 14-language subtitles, scene index in 15 chapters.