Moon Dogs – Film Review
Director: Philip John
Writers: Derek Boyle, Raymond Friel
Stars: Jack Parry-Jones, Christy O’Donnell, Tara Lee
Michael (as Jack Parry Jones) has just failed his entrance exam to college. His plans of moving to Glasgow with his girlfriend have been destroyed and he faces into a year of working at home on the Shetland islands, Scotland. He lives with his parents and his step brother Thor (Christy O’Donnel), a quiet and complicated young man who spends most of his time making experimental dance music in his bedroom. When Michael decides to visit his girlfriend in Glasgow, he sets out on the road with Thor. Along the way they encounter Caitlin (Tara Lee), a young feisty woman who catches the attention of the two brothers.
This film is a road movie, as the three characters are thrown together in unlikely circumstances. The two brothers have a difficult relationship and it gets more chaotic when Caitlin arrives on the scene. She is beautiful and sassy in the extreme, and seems to have an interest in both brothers. She is basically a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but is possibly the best thing about the film, as her character is very entertaining.
The film moves along at a good pace, and we have scenes of them taking all manner of transport and meeting many unusual characters on their way to Glasgow. There are surprises en route and it’s never dull. The music by Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre gets the mood just right. Director Philip John has previously worked on TV shows such as Downtown Abbey and Outlander, but does not have much of a history with film.
Most independent movies tend to be gritty and serious, stuffed with moody characters and troubled souls. This edges towards a light hearted comedy, and is much the better for it. It’s never dull, watching the three young friends search for deeper meaning on the highways and byways. They avoid most of the clichés, while wholehearted embraces others. You won’t need large portions of your brain to enjoy it, but the bits you are using will really quite enjoy it. It’s a well meaning and gentle watch that will pass a few hours of your time.