Dogs In Space Review

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Melbourne, 1978. A bunch of people share a house: Sam, the permanently stoned and irresponsible lead singer of a punk rock group, Anna, his blonde and occasionally in-work girlfriend, Luchio, a student who is actually studying amid the chaos, some surplus hippies, several hopeless musicians, and untold vermin, human and otherwise.


This doesn't really have a plot, though someone dies in the last reel to fool you into thinking there's been a story in there somewhere. Instead, we have an almost ciné verité chronicle of the day-to-day lives of deadbeats. Someone comes by to explain at length how a chainsaw works. Sam's mother delivers a home-cooked meal and clean washing to her catatonic son. A wild party upsets the neighbours, and leads to mass devastation. The gang burn a TV set in the hope of passing it off as a piece of Skylab, which has just fallen on Australia.

Despite its downer ending, it lacks the kind of mock-tragic overtones that give Penelope Spheeris' similar Suburbia a sort of dignity. Instead, we have a film that's as loud, rude, annoying, anarchic and opportunist as its characters. There's no question that it’s is an uncannily convincing depiction of life with a bunch of drop-out scumbags, but there's also a slight problem that it's hard to care about their eventual sufferings.

However, much of it very funny, and even if the lead characters make you want to throttle them, the minor cameos are spot on. Note, for instance, the friendly policeman who went to school with one of the household and performs a minimal search of the house while trying to seem desperately in tune with the punks, or the junior politico who tries to talk the uninterested band into doing a benefit gig and gets lost in the party.

Slightly weird, occasionally funny thriller.