New Zealand cinema was effectively put on the map by this future dystopian nightmare. “Smith” (Neill) has just been forced out of his house by his wife. She is in love with another man called Bullen (Mune). Smith moves to an island owned by a Maori tribe and secluded from the rest of humanity. The outside world however has descended into a hellish civil war. With a new dictatorship set up. Food and fuel are limited and guerrilla activity has set out to challenge the newly set up dictatorship. Who will survive and who will descend further?
Oceania was obsessed by the worlds end and its future reality. From Oz and its ‘MAD MAX’, ‘TURKEY SHOOT’ and of course ‘DEAD END DRIVE IN’. With Sleeping Dogs, you have a powerful piece that unravels the darker issues underneath society at the time. Conservative politics, fuel shortages, over development and financial woes. It also fuses 50s panic cinema of the nucleaur variety with 70s social subversion. The film places a very young Sam Neill into this model of an every man. He lacks layers of sophistication but he is a fighter and an actor who can translate it perfectly. Director Roger Donaldson cleverly focuses everything onto him. Why? because of his range and depth. This also allows the story to become a rich analysis of the times. It also makes the introduction of familiar faces like Warren Oates and Ian Mune more rational in such a disturbed time. I loved this and suspect that you really will to.
The HD transfer seems clean and crisp enough.
The beach scenes look sun drenched, the interior scenes are dark and claustrophobic. The stand out feature is the
commentary. I love how the discussion about the end (not to spoil it) discusses the issues with suede suits and actions scenes. Its the only time I have ever heard this! Now we haven’t seen the essays in the booklet but I must say Neil Mitchell never fails
in his insight and love of the regions cinema.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
- Optional 2.0 (uncompressed LPCM) and DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Commentary by writer-director Roger Donaldson, actor Sam Neill and actor-writer Ian Mune
- The Making of Sleeping Dogs (2004), a 65-minute retrospective documentary on the film’s production featuring interviews with Donaldson, Neill, Mune, Geoff Murphy
- The Making of Sleeping Dogs (1977), a contemporary behind-the-scenes documentary featuring interviews with Donaldson and Neill
- Theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell, a contemporary review by Pauline Kael and the original press book