Saturday, September 12, 2020

1116. Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs
Directed by Roger Donaldson

I have a confession to make, which I feel obliged to share since we have no secrets here. 

The other night I watched Jurassic Park III. 

It's not a moment I am proud of. All I can say is that this pandemic has been hard on everybody, and we shouldn't judge each other for our weaknesses. Anyway, today Sam Neill and I were able to meet under less shameful circumstances.

Smith is reeling from the dissolution of his marriage, so he arranges to live on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, which is owned by a Maori tribe. He spends some happy days there with his dog, but his peaceful life takes a turn when a bomb explodes in a nearby town. Smith is arrested in connection with the bombing, and is pressured to make a false confession or face execution by firing squad. Despite his desire to be removed from the war, Smith is forced to choose sides and fight for his handsome life.

It's interesting to see a movie come out of New Zealand, which is pretty underrepresented as a country on this List. Of course, the police brutality scenes hit a little different in the current climate. I know it's an issue that (sadly) never goes out of style, but it was especially hard to watch right now.

On the negative side, I thought the pacing of this was kinda off, and found the characters to be pretty grating. The romantic subplots really didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the story. 

So worth watching if you want to dive deeper into New Zealand cinema, and see Sam Neill's breakout role. But I think this is one of those movies that didn't reach its full potential.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

First New Zealand produced movie to attain wide release in the United States.

Roger Donaldson originally wanted Jack Nicholson to play Warren Oates' role, but his agent turned it down because of the film's low budget.


  1. Well, I recently - last couple of days- saw in a VERY weird Euro sort-of-horror/domestic violence-who the beep knows film called Possession ( in which he was rather creepy going round the bend as his even weirder wife has an affair with a yuckky slimy multi tentacled monster. So Jurassic park may carry less 'film buff brownie points', but I bet was more entertaining.

  2. Both your review and Ray's comments have made my evening! Very entertaining--you guys may be better than this film!

  3. Awww.. Thanks Diana!.. and I think I've just had my day made....

  4. Oh, in my first comment, I missed telling the most important point, the very reason I did tell about it, was that it starred Sam Neill. Without that information, the post was rather pointless.... Sorry...