Festival Nouveau Cinema: The Tiger`s Tail

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The Tiger`s Tail (dir. John Boorman)

* 1/2

A hybrid made up of so many constituent parts as to render the whole ineffectual. Stalwart Irish character actor Brendan Gleeson stars as a contented, wealthy real estate developer keen to give Ireland its first proper football stadium. There is lingering opposition to the project, given the increasingly desperate plight of the poor in Ireland and the lack of affordable housing. Gleeson’s life gets derailed when his “doppelganger” arrives, a man of his exact likeness who follows him around and taunts him relentlessly. After some intriguing early scenes, the film loses steam quickly when it becomes apparent that this figure is not, in fact, a hallucination, but instead that most treasured of soap opera conventions, the long-lost twin. Nevermind that the underlying facts we must accept about the manner in which the “evil” twin was cast aside are contrived at best. There are bigger problems to deal with, anyway – mostly involving the hamfisted attempts at political commentary that are intermittently – and inappropriately – shoehorned into what amounts to something very nearly approaching a shaggy dog story. Meant to be an elaborate parable about the scocio-economic divide in Ireland, it might have worked as satire, but takes its ludicrous plot machinations far too seriously. And it must be said – Kim Cattrall as trophy wife we can believe, but as Irishwoman?

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