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Dogwatch (1999)

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Adrift in hostile waters, during the last vicious battles of the Triad societies after explusion from mainland China, The Captain, William, is ruined. He has a shady past, a drinking ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Captain
Russell Kiefel ...
John Alansu ...
John Brumpton ...
Robert Berry ...
Lolly Cook ...
Woman In Bar
Rick Edwards ...
Vaughan McInnes ...
Admiralty Officer
Hoy Lee ...
Fortune Teller
Beverly Lorenzo ...
Deng's Girl
Gerry Baker ...
Drowning Man
Gerry Baker ...
Drowning Man


Adrift in hostile waters, during the last vicious battles of the Triad societies after explusion from mainland China, The Captain, William, is ruined. He has a shady past, a drinking problem and a dirty job to do - at the lowest ebb of his career, William has agreed to sink the Arabella for an insurance scam. A tale of lost men adrift on the high seas in a battle for survival. Written by Anonymous

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not a dog in sight
23 May 2003 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This stylised genre film by Australian writer/director Laurie McInnes was never released theatrically, and you'll know why. Although she has a good eye for framing, understated violence and some well edited sequences eg a crossing of a coral reef at sea, McInnes here is too concerned with moody atmosphere and languid portentous conversations.

Set in "South Asia in 1960", the plot concerns a 2,000 cargo ship Arabella, leaving Red Dragon Bay, with a motley crew of 6, headed by The Captain. Stranded at sea after a gun running exchange which has netted gold coins, McInnes' treatment becomes too convoluted, mixing in the alcoholic Captain, a mysterious passenger, a plan to sink the ship, Chinese Triad corpses, and finally a death count of those on board. Perhaps if McInnes had gone with an agenda of the men being systematically murdered for their gold, this simpler situation would have provided a serial killer mentality satisfaction. However, as it is, the lack of focus makes the film read as one-dimensional, and when those that have abandoned the ship return to it, we groan in the acknowledgement of a weak dramatist. The only surprising elements McInnes provides are the sexual ambivalence given to two of the characters.

The actors are prone to macho strine performances where they stare at each other for far to long. As Palmer, Russell Kiefel wearing eye make-up initially does some amusing camp pantomime, in contrast, however his eventual declaration of himself as "the devil" is rather heavy-handed. But the smoothed-skinned youthful sensuality of Joel Edgerton's Sparrow is used pleasingly to present him as an object of desire, rather than an accomplice.

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