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Lawn Dogs (1997)

R  |   |  Drama  |  15 May 1998 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 6,034 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 48 critic

Newly arrived in an up-market housing development, quiet ten-year-old Devon doesn't quite fit in. Ignoring the urgings of her social-climbing father, Devon chooses the company of Trent, who... See full summary »

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7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Morton Stockard
...
Clare Stockard
Miles Meehan ...
Billy
...
Nash
...
Brett
...
Sean Torrance
...
Pamela 'Pam' Gregory
José Orlando Araque ...
Salvador the Mailman
...
Trent's Mother
...
Jake - Trent's Father
Odin the Dog ...
Tracker
Tafeki the Dog ...
Tracker
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Storyline

Newly arrived in an up-market housing development, quiet ten-year-old Devon doesn't quite fit in. Ignoring the urgings of her social-climbing father, Devon chooses the company of Trent, who mows the estate's lawns, rather than of the girls her own age. Their friendship grows during her visits to his trailer home, but although it is completely innocent it is obvious that it would be unacceptable to the residents if they found out. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Innocence is a dangerous friend

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality/nudity, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gyepkutyák  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$74,859 (USA) (15 May 1998)

Gross:

$106,292 (USA) (30 October 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Randy Peterson, the stuntman who doubled for Sam Rockwell in the dive off the bridge early in the film, performed the stunt a total of six times - five times completely naked, and once wearing briefs (in case an alternative shot would be needed for a US TV version). The bridge (in Louisville, Kentucky, USA) was 70 feet high and the water around nine feet deep. See more »

Goofs

Devon refers to Baba Yaga as "he" several times and describes the character as having chicken legs, however, in Russian fairy tales/folklore Baba Yaga is an old woman and gets around by flying in a mortar and pestle, it is her house that runs about on chicken legs. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Devon: Once upon a time, in a far off land, lived a girl and her mother and father. Their village was surrounded by a high wall. Outside the wall was the forest, home of Baba Yaga, the witch. Baba Yaga had iron teeth like three trees. His legs were like chicken legs, and he ate little girls for dinner. But inside the wall we were safe.
See more »

Connections

References Sudden Impact (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Shake And Shiver
Performed by Jubilee
Courtesy of Silvertone Records, Ltd.
Written by Ross Baxter, Chris Holditch, Garron Firth and Lee Severin (as Baxter/Frith/Holdich/Severin
Used by permission of Zomba Music Publishers Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
A hugely original and surprising drama.
25 September 2002 | by (Manchester, England) – See all my reviews

I first saw this film on late night BBC in England and was half watching it while packing for college. By the half way mark, i was sucked in and couldn't not watch.

The first thing that will knock you out is Sam Rockwell. Over the last few years he has risen in fame due to high-profile parts in Charlie's Angels, The Green Mile and Mamet's Heist, but here is the arrival of a veritable acting talent. His is a simple, truthful unshowy performance that resonates throughout the film without crushing it. He is the film's heart, rather than a scene-stealer. As we learn more about his poor, white-trash lawn cutter, we sympathise and begin to realise how easily the reactions of others higher up on the food chain conspire to create chaos for him.

I won't give too much about the story away, because it frequently heads off in new, interesting directions, but essentially this is the story of Devon (newcomer child actor Mischa Barton) and the above mentioned Trent (Rockwell) and their relationship. He is poor, she comes from wealthy stock, but feels out of place in her materialistic world and they are both children of nature. What makes it compelling is that she knows this and revels in it and Trent has to be shown, by her.

John Duigan does a wonderful job of introducing strands and themes which at first seem offbeat and peculiar but which all add to the sense prejudice, division and isolation felt by these two brillaintly-wrought characters. Each find the other intriguing but are hesitant to become close because of others' values. Eventually they become friends and just as they accept this, the world around them turns on them and what started out as an irreverent comedy-drama, turns into something much darker and even terrifying.

Where the film goes from there, I will leave to you to discover. Please do, because this is a very unique film in American independent cinema. Much like the more high-profile American Beauty, what at first seems like character cliche and predictability rapidly leads you down the path least expected. Its beautifully shot, making full use of a handful of gorgeous locations, wonderfully acted, particularly by Barton and Rockwell, but also by the ever-reliably sleazy Christopher Mcdonald (Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore and Louise's husband in Thelma & Louise), the quietly strong Kathleen Quinlan and the lesser spotted Bruce McGill in one of his best roles as security guard Nash. The music is also peerless, at first playful and calm, building to a dramatic climax.

That climax is what makes this film stand head and shoulders above the rest. An emotional pay-off such as you have never seen in a film of this ilk. 9/10


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