Sleeping Dogs

Starring: Melinda Page Hamilton, Bryce Johnson and Geoffrey Pierson
Tartan Video
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 23 July 2007

Amy is a seemingly normal young girl, adored by her parents and golden-boy fiancé. Her future looks bright until her fiancé suggests they tell each other their darkest secrets - things they have never told anyone. When Amy finally relents and reveals her secret, everything falls apart...

Sleeping Dogs is a movie that will mainly be remembered for one thing - the basic premise that a woman performs fellatio on a dog in a moment of madness. This is a shame, because this film is much more intelligent, and a lot of people will be put off watching it simply because of the taboo subject.

The film starts with Amy sat at home one night alone with her dog. Curious about what it would be like to perform fellatio on man's best friend, she puts the chain on the front door and satisfies her curiosity. Once the odd deed is done she rushes to the bathroom to wash her mouth out - it wasn't a moment of madness that she will ever repeat again.

Years later she meets John who seems to be the man of her dreams. He proposes to her and because Amy wants a relationship in which their are no secrets, she makes up her mind to share everything with him - even the heinous dog incident. However, she is unsure how he will act. Without revealing the truth behind this event, she asks her mother's advice. Her mother confides to Amy that she too did a couple of really strange things when she was young, and although it eats her up every day, thinks that it's better that Amy's dad is kept in the dark. Not wanting to hide anything from her husband to be, Amy tells John - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Some secrets are best left untold.

Sleeping Dogs is more a romantic comedy than it is a shock fest of bad taste. The dog scenario is simply meant to represent a really dark secret that most people have, but are too afraid to tell their partners about because of what light it will paint them in. The fact that it happened year's previously, before she met her current fiancé, really means that it should be an event that she shouldn't share with others. There are things in everyone's past that they should learn from and move on - never mentioning again.

I couldn't help but be reminded of Chasing Amy, especially while watching the scene where John's curiosity gets the better of him and he asks Amy to perform the heinous act once more so he can see what it looks like. So, it wasn't much of a surprise to hear, on the audio commentary, that writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait was heavily inspired by Chasing Amy.

I also loved the "For Mom" dedication at start of film. This takes on a whole new meaning once you've seen the movie and heard Amy's mum's stories.

I was also unsure as to whether Ed (played by Colby French) was on the level or not. It's left to the audience to make up their own minds as to whether he is really having marital problems, or just sees an opportunity to take advantage of Amy while she is going through a very vulnerable period. There are a few too many coincidences that make you think he's a bit of a slimy character, but at the same time, he's such a charming, charismatic bloke, that you can't help but instantly warm to him.

Extras include an audio commentary with Goldthwait (in which he admits his confusion as to who will want to listen to him waffling on about the movie); Interview with Goldthwait and Melinda Page Hamilton (16 min) and trailer (the sound of which seems to be about three seconds out of synch with the picture).

The audio commentary is refreshingly honest, and Goldthwait reveals a few too many secrets that he probably shouldn't - like where a lot of the wardrobe and props came from, and the fact they did a little breaking and entering to film one important scene.

This movie won't be to everyone's taste, but if you ignore the dog fellatio aspect, then you'll find that this is a warm, touching, beautiful movie that proves that you don't have to spend a small fortune to create a work of art. I am a huge Kevin Smith fan, and I have to say I found Sleeping Dogs to be on par with Chasing Amy in almost every aspect.

Darren Rea

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