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TIGERLAND

USA / Germany, 2000 (MIFF 2001, International Panorama)

Director: Joel Schumacher

In the tradition of Full Metal Jacket, and Platoon, Joel Schumacher's Tigerland lifts the lid on the horrors of boot camp in his account of raw recruits preparing for combat. The film follows the specialised training inflicted upon draftees at Fort Polk in Louisiana. The camp was constructed to resemble a Vietnamese village in every aspect and new troops endure everything from abusive drill sergants to combat practice using live ammunition. The cynical but highly intelligent Bozz faces officers with violent contempt for his anti-authoritarian stance and fellow soldiers with murderous grudges, only his friendship with sympathetic writer Paxton may see him survive the ordeal. Matthew Libatique (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) provides a handheld, reversal-stock look, at once modern, immediate and apt for the 1971 setting. A fine showcase for spirited performances from up-and-coming actors, notably Ballykissangel's star Colin Farrell, as the charismatic Bozz.

"This taut, sparse drama is consistently fresh. engrossing and unpredictable...few big time Hollywood directors have attempted such a major shifting of gears and done it so successfully."—Los Angeles Times.

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