Joe and Paddy are a pair of Irish mercenaries working a job in an anonymous and barren stretch of desert, holding to ransom the daughter of a wealthy Arab until payment is made. What should have been a simple task is complicated by Joe’s paranoia and instability along with the fact they are both keeping secrets from the other.
Tiger Raid’s stage play origins are made apparent in the small cast and lengthy, dialogue-heavy scenes driving the plot rather than the intermittent bursts of the brutal violence the main pair nevertheless prove themselves to be capable of. While the story’s consistent verbosity means it’s never short of something to say, the slight limitation in the subject matter makes things a little repetitive. Conversations are brought up several times, and while each iteration reveals a little more about its subject, the necessary duplication gets a little frustrating. Also, when it becomes apparent that every personal detail the discussions reveal will have later implications, it makes you reconsider just how much depth the characters truly have.
The parched desolation of the desert isolates the actions of the duo from the rest of the world, only the intermittent and indecipherable crackle of radio communications from their unseen commander giving them any link to the rest of humanity. It’s this seclusion that, despite the barren expanse surrounding them, makes events feel cramped and intimate, adding a degree of claustrophobia to the heightening friction.
As the two leads, Brian Gleeson and Damien Molony play off each other fantastically, their respective roles of unquestioningly loyal soldier and ambitious upstart driven to their extremes by both the spiralling situation and personal revelations. The developing relationship between the pair drives their interaction, growing from unease to mistrust to confrontation and back again, events all the while threatening to boil over uncontrollably until something happens that there’s no going back from. Sofia Boutella, meanwhile, gets a little short shrift in the role of kidnap victim Shadha, her presence serving little more purpose than to exacerbate already inflamed tension between the two mercenaries.
As the murky details of the situation become further cleared and the strain on characters’ trust continues to rise you begin to increasingly question if there is any way this can end without bloodshed (aside from the anonymous extras killed so Joe and Paddy could reach this point), and the story ends on a satisfying and inevitable note that wraps things up in a neat but uncontrived way, culminating everything to have thus far occurred.
TIGER RAID / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: SIMON DIXON / SCREENPLAY: SIMON DIXON, MICK DONNELLAN, GARETH COULAM EVANS / STARRING: BRIAN GLEESON, DAMIEN MOLONY, SOFIA BOUTELLA / RELEASE DATE: TBC
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10