6.6/10
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21 user 6 critic

Dogs in Space (1986)

R | | Drama | 1 January 1987 (USA)
The film is set in a house occupied by a collection of social misfits. The main storyline is that of a strange musician's relationship with a girl, their drug use and his band. These events... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Hutchence ...
Sam
...
Anna
Nique Needles ...
Tim
Deanna Bond ...
The Girl
Tony Helou ...
Luchio
...
Chainsaw man
Peter Walsh ...
Anthony
Laura Swanson ...
Clare
Adam Briscomb ...
Grant
Sharon Jessop ...
Leanne
Edward Clayton-Jones ...
Nick
Martii Coles ...
Mark
Chuck Meo ...
Charles
Caroline Lee ...
Jenny
Fiona Latham ...
Barbara
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Storyline

The film is set in a house occupied by a collection of social misfits. The main storyline is that of a strange musician's relationship with a girl, their drug use and his band. These events are surrounded by a chaotic myriad of sub-plots. A homicidal chainsaw maniac's lust for his machine and a T.V station's offer of money in return for a piece of the Skylab satellite that has fallen to earth are just two. The film is composed of small fragments in the lives of its inhabitants, each following onto the next, sometimes overlapping and ending in tragedy. Written by Richard Moore <rick@zephyr.win-uk.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 January 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cani nello spazio  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After her fight with Sam, Anna goes to her mother's house and watches My Man Godfrey (1936) on television with her. See more »

Goofs

In Luchio's bedroom there is a sticker for the FM radio station Triple M. At time the film was set, MMM did not exist (it began as EON-FM at that time) and there were in fact no commercial FM radio stations broadcasting in Melbourne. The radio station the cast do listen to, 3XY, was an AM station that changed to FM and became Triple M; this may have been a bit of product placement. See more »

Quotes

Tim: Better watch out, Sammy. You'll get healthy eating all that crap.
See more »

Connections

Features Countdown (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Shivers
Written by Rowland S. Howard (as Roland S. Howard)
Performed by Boys Next Door (aka The Birthday Party)
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the great films about modern youth
5 July 2004 | by (Wolverhampton, England) – See all my reviews

'Dogs in Space' pretty much seems to have disappeared over the years. My widescreen copy was taped off Channel 4 in the early 90's, and I'm pretty sure this was the last British terrestrial screening. Which is a real shame, because its a fantastic film. Written and directed by Richard Lowenstein, maker of the excellent 'Strikebound' and promos for INXS and U2, its an apparently semi-autobiographical piece about the various dwellers of, and visitors to, a rather decrepit squat in late 70's Melbourne.

For those who might be put off by Lowenstein's corporate rock pedigree, fear not. The film avoids modish stylisation in favour of a rather free-wheeling, Altmanesque approach to construction and character development. The viewer is left to decipher dialogue and make connections for themselves.

The piece is beautifully photographed and edited, and makes wonderful use of the 'steadicam' camera mount. Only at the very end does Lowenstein indulge himself in promo-style picture-making to sell the tie-in single 'Rooms for the memory'. And presumably give his otherwise pretty uncompromising vision some commercial lustre.

As with Altman's best work, the guiding hand is detached but compassionate. The characters are all fiercely idiosyncratic individuals, often infuriating and shallow. But they are never mocked. Instead we see that their silliness is often merely a result of an attempt to either forge uniqueness or merely belong, and as such it often attains a strange nobility.

At the films heart, though, lies a discernible disillusionment with, and subtle but pointed criticism of, the reality of the 'punk revolution'. Its most voluble proponents are shown to be either mouthpiece middle class drop-outs or confused, neglected teenagers. And its socio-political effect negligible.

Michael Hutchence's presence (again, presumably largely a commercial consideration) is rather subversively integrated into this schema. He is cast as a pretty but vain, self-obsessed and generally unlikeable singer Sam, whose outwardly anarchistic stance barely conceals a ruthless careerism. Sam is also witty illustration of the fact that punk inevitably existed off the graces of the bourgeois. He has his mother turn up at the squat with a freshly cooked meal and clean clothes while all the other residents are out. Again, though, the effect is wry rather than bile-drenched.

'Dogs' is well-acted by a cast of mostly never-heard-from-agains. The ubiquitous but brilliant Chris Haywood appears briefly to deliver a heartfelt eulogy to a chainsaw. It employs an excellent soundtrack, and special note should be made of the remarkable sound-mix.

It's an evocative, atmospheric snapshot of a sub-culture founded on both vainglorious naivete and admirable, rebellious individuality.

Deserves a deluxe, restored, fully stereophonic, all-bells-and-whistles DVD at the very least.


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