The Tiger’s Tail
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Kim Cattrall
Director: John Boorman
** (out of five)
A wealthy Dublin real estate developer is none too pleased to see a familiar face through his car’s windshield: his own. Though set in contemporary Ireland (hence the film’s name, a play on the expression Celtic Tiger), The Tiger’s Tail fits into a long lineage of eerie tales of doppelgangers and sinister twins — Poe, Dumas, Twain and Dostoyevsky all wrote stories about the usually dire consequences of encountering your double. Alas, this latest variation on the theme is not the most memorable — The Tiger’s Tail’s iffy plot twists, inconsistent performances and confusing tone will strain the credulity of any viewer.
What makes The Tiger’s Tail particularly disappointing is it reunites Brendan Gleeson and John Boorman, the actor and director who made the terrific true-crime drama The General in 1998. Here, Gleeson plays Liam O’Leary, an ambitious developer who has profited from Ireland’s economic boom. Though a confident, blustery fellow, he’s nonetheless disturbed when he starts to see someone who looks exactly like him across crowded rooms. Driven by his obsession, he discovers a family secret may explain who this man is. A confrontation between the look-alikes leads to a Prince and the Pauper-style reversal of fortune for Liam.
Sex And The City’s Kim Cattrall also stars as Liam’s wife Jane, deploying a dubious Irish accent. Jane and the impostor have a charge lacking in the rest of the film. It’s rarely clear whether Boorman intends Liam’s story to seem comic or tragic. Less ambiguous is the director’s take on modern Ireland, which he presents as a heartless society where capitalism has run amok.