No review of Lawn Dogs
can adequately describe this extraordinary movie, nor can the title or any simple synopsis. In fact, there's no way of knowing what Lawn Dogs
is really about until the very end when the last 90-minutes takes on a whole new significance.
The basic story follows the formation and fruition of a simple friendship. Devon (astounding newcomer Mischa Barton) is a 10-year-old girl born to glamour magazine identikit parents who live in the plush US suburban Camelot Gardens Estate. Trent (Sam Rockwell) is a 20-something lawnmower man whom everyone considers trash and who lives in a forest trailer. As secret friends they fill the holes in one another's lives. She has no other friends because she thinks "other kids smell like TV". It's all perfectly sweet and innocent. But naturally there's no way the uptight neighbourhood would perceive it that way. A creeping sense of doom begins to overtake events; but it is where this seemingly obvious tale twists at the end that makes the community's darker quirks a revelation.
On the DVD: Lawn Dogs on disc comes in a 16:9 transfer that retains the superb cinematography of endlessly stretching flat horizons. The three-channel sound is equally of benefit to a subtle bluesy score. Regrettably the only extra is a trailer. As a winner at numerous International Film Festivals, this picture really deserved something more. --Paul Tonks
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Acclaimed drama from director John Duigan, starring Sam Rockwell and Mischa Barton. Ten-year-old Devon Stockard (Barton) leads a lonely existence in her wealthy parents' high-security suburban complex. Her only friend is Trent Burns (Rockwell), a 22-year-old drop-out who works as a 'lawn dog', mowing the lawns of the locals for a living. However, Trent is reviled and looked down upon by those he works for, and his friendship with Devon looks set to get him into a lot of trouble. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Montreal World Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, ...Lawn Dogs