Sam Neill stars as Smith in his first leading role in SLEEPING DOGS- the first feature film made in New Zealand back in the
1970s which acted as the feature debut for director Roger Donaldson. This engrossing political drama (based on the novel
Smith's Dream) reflects the reality in New Zealand to some degree a few years later and serves as a warning to where the United
States of America could be heading if we're not careful given the current political climate. It helped start careers for
Sam Neill and Roger Donaldson who you know from their other movies, but you may never heard of SLEEPING DOGS where their careers
in movies began.
SLEEPINGS DOGS starts with Smith moving out from his house as his wife is shacking up with a new man and she has custody
of the two kids (son and daughter played by the director's real life kids). Smith goes out to seek isolation by renting a
house on an island, but trouble soon finds him as he is set up as being part of a terrorist rebel movement against the increasing
oppressive New Zealand government. He escapes from a police car and he is soon put in touch with a member of a Rebel cell
which is lead by his wife's new boyfriend. Smith is dragged into this new revolution whether he likes it or not, and he is
put into conflict with American soldiers brought in to help quell the Rebellion.
SLEEPING DOGS is a political thriller and a personal drama (about a man trying to start fresh only to run into the problems
he is running from). Smith is a man who wants to be left alone, but an oil embargo causes martial law and a civil war.
He still loves his wife, but the new man/ boyfriend (Ian Mune) is also in the picture. It is still a very timely movie.
Feature Audio Commentary with director Roger Donaldson, actor/ writer Ian Mune, and star Sam Neill as they remember making
SLEEPING DOGS while Ian Mune doesn't quite remember some facts right.
There are two good looks at the making of SLEEPING DOGS in the form of a vintage featurette, THE MAKING OF SLEEPING DOGS
(1977), in 1.33:1 which holds its own against the best making-of featurettes presented on DVD and blu-ray and the 65 minute
retrospective documentary THE MAKING OF SLEEPING DOGS (2004). The vintage featurette features interviews with cast and crew,
behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie while the documentary incorporates some of the footage from the featurette
mixed with clips from the movie and new interviews with Donaldson, Sam Neill, Ian Mune, and other members of the cast and
crew as they revisit some of the locations used in the movie
Also included on the blu-ray is the original theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray case has reversible sleeve art and you
get a booklet about SLEEPING DOGS which includes a reprint of the original press book on the movie.
FINAL ANALYSIS: SLEEPING DOGS is a good political thriller and drama. It is a career launch for Sam Neill and Roger Donaldson.
Watch it if you haven't seen it. The making-of materials are worth watching if you want to know about how the movie came
together and was made.
This review is ©5-6-2018 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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