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Movie Review: The Tiger's Tail
by Bridget Haggerty

Directed by John Boorman ('Excalibur' 'The General') reviews for 'The Tiger's Tail' run the gamut from boring to brilliant. The truth is probably somewhere in between for this thriller-style drama about what happens to a wealthy Dublin property developer who gets stuck in a rush hour traffic jam and suddenly sees his double. Mere coincidence? Or is this unlikely meeting part of a dark and mysterious plot?

Liam O'Leary, played by Brendan Gleeson, is the wealthy businessman. He is from humble beginnings, but has grown powerful and rich thanks to Ireland's economic boom. Unfortunately, the era of the Celtic Tiger is rapidly coming to an end and Liam's firm is in deep financial trouble. However, he still dreams about building a national sports stadium - a dream shared by a rival builder who is doing whatever he can to spoil Liam's plans. At the same time, Liam's home life is also less than perfect. While the family appear to be enjoying all the trappings of prosperity, his marriage has grown stale and he neglects his wife. In addition, his rebellious teenage son feels ignored and tries to get his dad's attention by adopting off the wall political views.

It's into this stressed and over-stretched scenario that Liam finds himself face to face with the spitting image of himself staring back at him through the windshield. And that is just the beginning of what is to become a series of sightings and Liam's eventual realization that the mystery man is intentionally trying to steal his identity and step into his shoes.

At times gritty and disturbing, The Tiger's Tale was not popular with Irish movie goers. But Boorman is famous for not shying away from the truth and making us feel uncomfortable. (Deliverance immediately comes to mind). That said, I was intrigued by life in modern day Dublin and how it is for the haves and have nots. And I found myself thoroughly engrossed in how Liam deals with what is happening to him, how he fights to stay alive and keep his sanity, and ultimately, what he does when he must confront the once unknown skeleton in his closet.

George Bernard Shaw once said "If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." Brendan Gleeson, playing both Liam O'Leary and his double, does a fine job of doing exactly that.

Described in some reviews as a black comedy, I found nothing to laugh about. But there are ironic twists which should evoke a smile here and there. If you want to know how it all plays out, the movie is available here: The Tiger's Tail - amazon.

Photo Credit: John Boorman/Wikipedia

 

Fri, Nov 3, 2017

The Round Towers

The Round Towers of Ireland are remarkable among the world's ancient monuments; one author has called them 'Elegant, free-standing pencils of stone.' Today, 65 survive in part or whole. Hand-crafted in native stone and cemented with a sand, lime, horsehair and oxblood mortar - a technique imported from Roman Britain - it's said by many historians that they were built by monastic communities to thwart Viking invaders. And yet, there's reason to believe that the towers were built long before Christianity came to Ireland. Whatever their origins, monasteries did indeed flourish where the round towers existed. And why not. These imposing edifices provided a watch tower, a keep and a refuge.
Image: By kind permission of Stephen Cassidy, The Cassidy Clan.


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