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Worth A Look: 33.93%
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Sucks: 5.36%

4 reviews, 32 user ratings

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Lawn Dogs
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by Chris Chamberlin

"Perhaps the most overlooked movie masterpiece of all time!!"
5 stars

John Diugan’s ‘Lawn Dogs’ may well be the most satisfying movie to come out of America this decade. If you missed it at the cinemas (and let's face it, most people did), be warned that it still has the same magical effect on the small screen as it does on the big.

It's a quiet masterpiece that lazily unravels itself, yet somehow succeeds at impacting like a sledgehammer, and does so in such a perfect, unforced and magical way that the experience of viewing it leaves the movie goer completely fulfilled and intoxicated. Very few movies of recent times have even come close to carrying off this irony- think 'Fargo' or better still, 'Love Serenade' (interestingly and perhaps not coincidentally also directed by an Australian).

Devon Stackard, played with unrestrained energy by amazing newcomer Mischa Barton, is a ten year old girl who has just moved with her family into Camelot Gardens, a modern, upper class estate where attendance numbers for weekend Barbecues reflect neighbourhood status and lawns are kept perfectly maintained by the uninvited lower class- like lawn mower man, Trent Burns (Sam Rockwell) . While Mr and Mrs Stockard (Christopher McDonald and Kathleen Quinlan) set out to make an impression with the new neighbours and encourage their daughter to do the same, Devon is far more content to wander and explore the forest outside the estates walls than make friends with the other children and soon stumbles upon Trent’s hidden caravan home.

The two soon become inseparable, laughing at and unconforming with the small community’s values and expectations by embarking on one exhilarating adventure after another- sometimes keeping the friendship quiet but at other times blatantly flaunting it. While it’s impossible not to rejoice in their spirited independence, it becomes obvious that the duo’s relationship does not sit easily with Devon’s parents and the locals.

Without exception, every element of 'Lawn Dogs' is mesmerising. From the poetic direction, cinematography, music and fairytale infused storyline which deals with the universally important issues of friendship, self-identity, family, and class divisions, to the faultless performances from the two leads and amazing supporting cast. The truly original and captivating climax of ‘Lawn Dogs’ also sees Australian Director, John Diugan give American film-makers a lesson on how movie magic and effects can be used in a subtle and powerful way.

‘Lawn Dogs’ is a celebration of unconformity and being comfortable with ones true self and through this enchanting movie, John Diugan has proved himself to be a true alchemist of the film world that can mix and dabble with the elements to produce pure, solid gold.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=164&reviewer=81
originally posted: 04/21/99 12:16:01
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User Comments

3/28/16 Aj wales Movie does not age. Dreamlike fairytale. Emotional ending. Watch. 5 stars
6/30/11 Anon E. Muss That's how you tell a story. Exceptionally well done. 5 stars
7/10/07 not Trent Sam Rockwell's character's name is Trent, and the girl is Devon. 4 stars
4/22/07 tynecastle21 Refreshing t see an American not reliant on big names, big budget and special effects. Exce 5 stars
11/26/06 Lawn Duk Dong Hang yourself with the laces of Micha's Keds before watching this pile of doggie poo. 1 stars
7/13/06 Gord - the Mad Doctor Without a doubt, the best movie in my collection. 5 stars
7/05/05 anon I wanna say that Misha Barton sux in all her movies>:( and shes a ugly lil slut 1 stars
6/03/05 John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt No no "Disappointed" YOU think you're smarter than you really are. Brilliant film. 5 stars
5/21/05 disappointed thinks it is far smarter than it really is. 1 stars
3/07/05 Song The young girl's name is Devon, not Trent. Get it right. No credibility as a reviewer. 2 stars
10/06/04 Meaghan Mischa Barton plays a fantastic role and i really enjoyed watching this movie! 5 stars
6/01/03 michelle LOVED IT! 5 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones Excellent film - imaginative and thoughtful 5 stars
5/18/02 Lisa I'm sorry, but isn't her name Devon? Not Trent.. 5 stars
12/23/01 Ray Foltz Great movie!Mischa Barton is great and sexy! 5 stars
12/14/01 Andrew Mchugh Visually superb with twisted humour and fear 5 stars
10/21/01 muddy Great job from Sam Rockwell and Mischa Barton. (note: The diving scene was cool!) 5 stars
10/21/01 kylie it rocked 5 stars
9/26/01 Xerox Sam Rockwell did a much better job in "Jerry and Tom".A better film I might add. 4 stars
9/06/01 Jeff It was pretty interesting, and it was filmed in my neighborhood--so it was fun to watch 4 stars
9/01/01 Devereux delicious discovery!! thanks 5 stars
2/03/01 Piotr I love it! Devon is adorable 5 stars
10/20/99 Lauren loved it.....filmed in my home city a couple blocks away from me....very realistic... 5 stars
8/14/99 Angela Maruca I love this movie!! I think SAM ROCKWELL IS AMAZING!! 5 stars
6/22/99 Nicole Toro Great flick, why haven't I heard of Sam Rockwell before? He was incredible. Big future. 5 stars
4/09/99 Jeff Very good flick--even if it was filmed in Kentucky. Mystical realism and no subtitles! 4 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink Magical movie that you won't forget. Highly Recommended! 5 stars
11/14/98 Barrie I wept and wept. Not from the sadness of the ending, but for the overall mysticism. Brill. 5 stars
9/26/98 MR HOLLYWOOD!! 1 word.......TOUCHING..........Wheres OSCAR ??? 4 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Like a nursery rhyme that you keep thinking is going to turn into kiddie porn. Great. 5 stars
8/15/98 {{{OZ}}} Almost Tim Burton-esque at times, a great dark comedy of a film. 4 stars
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  15-May-1998 (R)
  DVD: 08-Dec-1998



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