Tiger Raid is a dark, suspenseful, and unpredictable film which will keep you hooked from start to finish. It follows two Irish mercenaries as they travel across the deserts of Iraq to complete a mission. As it progresses, their frenzied world turns in on itself as past misdeeds come to the surface, and violently threaten to tear them apart.
The film opens with a montage of images but only a figure of man and a woman can be made out and heavy breathing is echoed over the images. This same montage is used throughout the film and becomes a recurring motif for character Joe, played by Brian Gleeson.
He’s one of two Irish mercenaries, together with Paddy (Damien Moloney). Immediately it becomes quickly apparent these two have conflicting opinions on multiple issues, including the north and south divide of Ireland.
After killing some Iraqi soldiers, the opening scene returns as the camera focuses on Joe’s face, hinting at his psychological state. Joe is continuously portrayed as being quite fragile-minded and it becomes apparent something happened in his past and he is holding some guilt in.
It’s not to connect with both Joe and Paddy, but as the film progresses it becomes more difficult to want to. Through his character development we learn Joe has a wife and children and he is only a mercenary as he owes something to an unknown character called Dave – as does Paddy.
Dave is frequently referred to, but never seen or introduced physically.
The majority of the film only has Joe and Paddy as they journey across the desert. With the lack of a variety of characters, the film relies heavily on the conversation between these two and their character developments are essential in pushing the film forward. One other character is introduced towards the end of the film: a woman called Shadha (Sofia Boutella), and she becomes a vital part of the final section, altering the dynamic enough that secrets are revealed.
Although the film is ultimately a dark thriller director, there’s enough humour in the script to earn the odd unexpected smile.
Words by Steven Brown