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Dope (2004)

 |  Drama  |  6 July 2006 (Australia)
4.7
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 73 users  
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In the sinful city streets life can be tough on the human heart, and in Laura's world now frequented by junkies, dealers, thugs and cops, she knows, just like the rest of them that losing ... See full summary »

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(as J. Harkness)

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(as J. Harkness)
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Title: Dope (2004)

Dope (2004) on IMDb 4.7/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Miranda Bien-Lim ...
Nikki
Alison Bramich ...
Talahue
...
Connector
Stephen Cummings ...
The Judge
Maria Dafnero ...
Tara Bear
Damir ...
Rooner
Nuala Hafner ...
TV Journalist
Scott Harrison ...
Sparrow
Joey Kennedy ...
Prosecuting Barrister
Travis McMahon ...
Jack
...
Delivery Man
Luciano Puopolo ...
Novello
Nathan Dean Ramsay ...
Russell
Anastasia Seis ...
Laura
Mathew Wilkinson ...
Jim
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Storyline

In the sinful city streets life can be tough on the human heart, and in Laura's world now frequented by junkies, dealers, thugs and cops, she knows, just like the rest of them that losing your head can leave you for dead. A gun-shot reverberates through the city streets intertwining the destinies of all these lost souls;can they outrun it? Or will the truth about love hit them all? Laura is not finding it easy, especially when the nation is transfixed by LAW TV, the televised trial of two cops for viciously beating and shooting Trevor Lyons, a gifted and attractive soccer player; because as it turns out, Jack, her first lover, might just be involved. JIM a snitch paid with heroin is most certainly implicated. But it is RUSSELL, her unexpected new love who triggers the realization of her intense re-occurring dream; and her sexual awakening. Shot of Love; they're all dying to get their hands on it. Written by Anastasia Seis

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Drama

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Release Date:

6 July 2006 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Shot of Love  »

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1.85 : 1
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This film is considered an Ozploitation picture, an Australian exploitation movie. See more »

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One of the greatest Australian films ever made.
22 October 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Shot of Love is brave, bold, imaginative and extremely heartfelt. (The title 'Dope' only applies to an inferior bootlegged version of the film, not approved by the director.)

Sadly, the film was obviously misunderstood during its theatrical release in Australia, where it seems the infamous cultural cringe the cinema tried desperately to outgrow in the Seventies is alive and well. There is so much pressure on Aussie films to be more like mainstream Hollywood films, to the point where they risk being disingenuous. Thankfully, Shot of Love should be treasured for deliberately refusing to conform to a conventional narrative structure and for daring to present an urban picture of South Australia, along with an important message and original world-view.

Shot of Love has been called surrealist because the film favours emotional logic over plot logic; this classification doesn't really apply, as the film isn't particularly dream-like. The symbolism of the film is closer to a biblical parable. Shot of Love is actually best understood as an uncompromising, uncensored outpouring of universally human emotions. Yes, racism is presented nakedly and fearlessly, as is drug addiction in various forms; however, the predominant emotions expressed, ever so eloquently and poetically, are kindness, tenderness, tolerance and, above all, love. This is what makes Shot of Love nothing short of revolutionary.

The performances, from a cast of mostly unknowns, are all outstanding. Photographed by the late Ron Hagen, best known for his exquisite work on Romper Stomper, Shot of Love is breathtaking to look at, especially in its detailed portrayal of Adelaide's city streets. The soundtrack is equally sophisticated and impressive, featuring some of Australia's finest songwriters, including Neil Finn and Stephen Cummings, who has a cameo role in the film. With song lyrics that effortlessly articulate the rich emotional lives of the main characters, it is a brilliantly subjective soundtrack that quite ingeniously marries with the Director's subjective camera style. The end result is that there is literally love in every frame of this film.

Despite some dark themes, the film's undeniable humanity is further revealed through unexpected humour. First time Writer/Driector, J.Harkness, has a real ear for dialogue, as well as a penchant for celebrating those smaller oddball moments and events that happen to everyone, yet rarely appear in movies. While Shot of Love has no pretence about ever aspiring to be social realism, it never fails to deliver human truths.

To its credit, Shot of Love doesn't try to wrap up all its intricate threads of raw drama and emotion into neat little bows. An open-text ending gives the film its gilt-edge. Once again, where there is consciously no narrative closure, there is emotional closure, to a devastating effect. Shot of Love is really a film about loss, for a generation of people who may have forgotten how to be kind to each other, and for a generation of people who may have forgotten how to love. Some of the misanthropic criticism the film has received probably only serves to prove how urgent and insightful the film's message really is.

Ground breaking, wildly entertaining, thoughtful and incredibly moving, Shot of Love deserves to be seen by a wide audience and belongs in the pantheon of great Australian films that stand for something more meaningful than simply trying to con or manipulate a few bucks out of cinema-goers. For its sincerity and its heart alone, Shot of Love stands as one of the great Australian films ever made.


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