Film / White Tiger

White Tiger is a 2012 Russian film set in World War II. A white Tiger tank keeps on showing up, wreaking havoc on Soviet tanks and then disappearing. Elite tank driver Naydenov is given a tank, a crew, and the task of finding and destroying the White Tiger, which may or may not be a supernatural force.

White Tiger was directed by Karen Shakhnazarov.

Tropes appearing in this film:

  • Ambiguous Ending: The final scene is of Adolf Hitler giving a monologue about human nature to an unknown, shadowed figure in a chair beside a large fireplace. Guesses of who the figure is range from Martin Heidigger to Satan.
    • The last we see of Naydenov is him telling Fedotov that even though WWII is over, the White Tiger is not destroyed and could return any time. He then gets back into the T-34 he was working on. When Fedotov looks back, Naydenov and his tank seem to have vanished.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Naydenov remembers nothing from before his recovery in hospital, except how to make a tank go.
  • Arch-Enemy: The White Tiger to Naydenov.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Naydenov. He says that tanks talk to him (and to everyone else, but only he can hear them) and calmly gives two officers a long, detailed description of the "tank god" up in the sky who has a golden T-34. Many characters say he's insane.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. A Panzer-IV is camouflaged inside a barn and waiting to ambush the Russians. Naydenov spots it and orders his gunner to fire a shot through the barn wall. A wooden wall does nothing to protect the Panzer from an armor piercing round.
  • Daylight Horror: The weather is beautiful and sunny for the whole film.
  • The Film of the Book: Based on the novel Tankist, ili belyy tigr by Ilya Boyashov.
  • Just a Flesh Wound:
    • Naydenov takes this trope Up to Eleven. His injuries should have killed a normal human being but he recovers very quickly without any scars. Beside the amnesia he seems to not be traumatized by being burned alive. In another incident he takes a bullet to the leg and simply walks it off while the wound heals on its own.
    • Naydenov's powers seem to have transferred to his tank as well. The White Tiger shoots the T-34 point-blank in the rear and the tank only sustains minor track damage. Naydenov's tank has thicker armor than regular T-34s but it should not have been enough to protect it from such a shot.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's strongly hinted but never confirmed that the White Tiger is a supernatural being.
  • Moby Schtick: Naydenov becomes obsessed with destroying the white tank that burned him and killed his crew.
  • No One Should Survive That: At the start of the film, Naydenov is taken to a field hospital with 90% burns, and is nearly triaged straight into the graveyard. He makes a full recovery, and is not even scarred. The doctors are mystified.
  • Never Found the Body: At one point the White Tiger is declared destroyed after it retreated into a swamp, where it surely must have sunk.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Ivan Ivanych Naydenov. Naydenov means "found." He was found in a tank, and taken to hospital.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: By Richard Wagner, which is especially fitting considering he popularized the Flying Dutchman legend and Hitler was famously a fan of his work.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Major Fedotov believes and pays attention to what Naydenov says.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: two officers discuss whether Naydenov's special powers are supernatural, or an evolutionary response to extreme conditions. Events towards the end of the film favour the first explanation.
  • Shown Their Work: A T-34/85 going over uneven terrain accidentally hits the ground with the cannon, damaging the gun. Due to the length of the 85mm gun barrel, this was a real-life problem for tankers.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: Averted with the T-34/85s, played straight with the white Tiger. Originally it was planned to build a replica Tiger for the film, but when the prop was not finished in time, a redressed IS-2 was used instead. In fact, if you look at the movie poster for this page, it is a blatant IS-2 with no make-up or redress whatsoever.
  • Technopath: Naydenov says active tanks tell him how to dodge shells, and wrecked tanks tell him how they met their ends.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: Elite loader Berdyev's special ability is that alcohol doesn't impair him from doing his job well.