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      Sleeping Dogs

      1977 1h 47m Mystery & Thriller List
      Reviews 56% Audience Score 100+ Ratings An estranged family man (Sam Neill) turns guerrilla against an overnight dictatorship in New Zealand. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (4) Critics Reviews
      Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times The movie resembles Z and The Battle of Algiers in the way it combines ideology with fiercely-paced action. Rated: 3/4 Oct 23, 2004 Full Review Nicholas Bell Donaldson's adaptation of the Stead novel reduces this to a simplified action film, with Neill's inscrutable and passive lead characterization a rather lukewarm object of interest or empathy. Rated: 2.5/5 Aug 25, 2020 Full Review Ian White Starburst Sleeping Dogs was the film that put both Sam Neill and New Zealand cinema on the world stage, and it's not difficult to see why. Rated: 10/10 Apr 19, 2018 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 3/5 Jul 16, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (11) audience reviews
      S R 1001 movies to see before you die. Some potential here, but it was cheesy and contrived. Oddly the last third of the film zoomed in and messed the ending making tough to follow. Saw on tubi. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/10/24 Full Review Wayne K A breakthrough moment for Sam Neill and New Zealand cinema at large, Sleeping Dogs is a slow burning, politically infused, pensive action thriller that forces us to ask which side of the fence we'd fall on in times of anarchy and societal collapse. Neither group is painted as all the way good or bad, with both having their owns flaws and questionable intentions. Sam Neill's Smith is designed to fall in between them, and he feels the pull from both sides. Based on the title, I was expecting this to be the tale of a timid man who gets pushed to the limit and eventually explodes, becoming the proverbial one-man wrecking machine, destroying everything and everyone in his path. But the film takes a very restrained approach to the violence and bloodshed, doling it out sparingly and mostly focusing on the psychological repercussions of trying to be the neutral party. Smith is hounded around the country, being shifted from place to place by rebels who view him as an icon for their cause, despite the fact he just wants nothing to do with them or their fight. Neill demonstrates his dramatic abilities as well as his cheeky sense of humour, and his likeability keeps you invested in his character as he navigates a world that's collapsing around him. It poses interesting questions about authority and revolutions, and the parallels with the Vietnam war are clear as day. Don't expect action and excitement because that's not what Sleeping Dogs is looking to deliver. Instead, its steadily paced and thought provoking, taking you deep into a divided world and allowing you to see just how dangerous, ugly and soul destroying it could potentially be. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/14/23 Full Review William L Sleeping Dogs takes advantage of a premise that seems relatively untapped even today - the collapse of society in slow motion rather than in a single blinding flash, the rise of authoritarian governments attempting to preserve some semblance of order against an essentially inevitable defeat (consider Children of Men). The breakthrough for Kiwi actor Sam Neill, the film finds his everyman character Smith unceremoniously caught between a government using increasingly drastic measures to ensure its survival, and a vaguely egalitarian resistance movement. What the film doesn't do is explore the conflict with any particular effectiveness, hinting at the potential for a neat political drama but never graduating beyond a mostly traditional action-thriller. The closest parallel that comes to mind would be the original Mad Max, heavy on worldbuilding but more focused on action; keeping the film so consistently first-person may have made Smith's suffering a bit more empathetic, but the lack of context to the larger conflict feels painful at times, and the character development is pretty inconsistent. More significant to the development of the New Zealand film industry than any particular strength of its own. Not bad, not particularly amazing. Feels like it leaves a lot of potential on the table. (2.5/5) Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 09/07/21 Full Review delysid d sam neill made some great movies - possession, dead calm, and event horizon. this was one of his first. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 05/17/20 Full Review Audience Member Sam Neill's first lead in a feature takes place in a dystopian New Zealand under martial law. A loner Barry Smith who has left his wife for solace on an island gets dragged back into the melee accused of terrorism offences. Neill is luminous; he has genuine star quality. The film is novelistically shot and edited. It is reminiscent of The Fugitive. Smith cannot escape his past or be relieved from responsibilities, his or those of society. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Ordinary man becomes unwillingly involved as a resistance fighter and framed as a conspirator against a repressive regime in New Zealand. First feature for NZ Director Roger Donaldson with Warren Oates curiously appearing in a small role. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/24/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Sleeping Dogs

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      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis An estranged family man (Sam Neill) turns guerrilla against an overnight dictatorship in New Zealand.
      Roger Donaldson
      Production Co
      New Zealand Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, New Zealand Film Commission, Broadbank Investments, Aardvark Films
      Mystery & Thriller
      Original Language
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Apr 18, 2018
      1h 47m