Based on Mick Donnellan’s black comedy play Radio Luxembourg, writer and director Simon Dixon delivers Tiger Raid, an intense thriller that follows two Irish mercenaries through treacherous Middle-Eastern territory. Paddy (Damien Molony) and Joe (Brian Gleeson) are men on a covert mission, driving through the dusty night to kidnap Shadha (Sofia Boutella), the daughter of a local tycoon. In the beginning, they exchange lurid banter about their shady pasts but before long, their motives and loyalties become uncertain, leading to a multitude of twists, turns and revelations.
The narrative relies on the colloquial dialogue between the two leading men in the lengthy opening passage, one driving the truck and the other riding shotgun. Their conversation initially flows like anecdotal pub chat that moves in very sordid circles, creating an intriguing atmospheric dynamic which is amplified by the murky cinematography. As the journey continues and the third character Shadha is thrown into the mix, we find out more about Paddy and Joe, and begin to question their actions as the screenplay toys with our perceptions. Molony and Gleeson perform very well together, but the story runs out of fuel towards the end to the point when it becomes difficult to care about the fates of the characters, who through their development become increasingly unlikeable.
Tiger Raid manages to be both seedy and stylish, and is an often compelling, character-driven drama. Simon Dixon succeeds in creating a dirty, war-torn backdrop for Paddy and Joe’s violent tale to unfold, but the pacing is problematic in the transition from stage to screen, and it would perhaps work better as a short rather than the feature format. Despite the issues, it works as an acting showcase for Damien Molony and Brian Gleeson who play an extremely flawed, messed up pair of individuals who can’t seem to change their stripes.