|Index||7 reviews in total|
Dogging is as British as Earl Grey tea and frozen football pitches on
windy January afternoon, and it is definitely an interesting subject in
which to base a film upon. In case you are wondering, Wikipedia defines
the sexual act of 'dogging' as;"engaging in sexual act/s in a
semi-public place (typically a secluded car park in a car) and then
watching others doing so." This sexual act (or acts) is the pretext for
the loose romantic plot behind Simon Ellis's first feature-film in
which four people's lives and relationships revolve around the act of
Dan (Luke Treadaway) is an aspiring, unemployed journalist who is hoping to set the media world alight by writing an article on the act of dogging and what people attain from the activity. Being unemployed, he sleeps on his best friend's Rob's (Richard Riddell) couch. Rob is a man's man, his job as an estate agent is only worthwhile to him as it allows him to meet and exploit plenty of mature, divorced women looking for a new abode. The film's core storyline revolves around Dan's deteriorating relationship with his girlfriend of four years Tanya (Sammy Dobson) and the unlikely relationship he strikes up with Laura (Kate Heppell), a young, curious and naive new member of the local dogging community. Continually the characters motives change within the film and we are given no indication or explanation why this happens, constantly keeping the audience at arm's-length rather than drawing them further into the characters lives.
Ellis's film, to be fair, does have its fair few moments of cheap humour, which almost entirely occur while the characters are involved on an excursion to a local car-park. Dan's first adventure out within the world of the 'doggers' will certainly bring forth a few chuckles. But its main setback is that the central theme of relationships is incredibly shallow and only barely scraps the surface of what would have made for an interesting story. The combination of using both first (Dan) and third person perspectives (unknown owner of a night-vision camera who's identity is later revealed) in the film also seems to be somewhat redundant and adds nothing but a few extra minutes to the running-time of the film.
'Dogging: A Love Story' had an interesting, and experimental premise that potentially could have made for very fun and engaging film, however it falls flat with a thin story and one-dimensional characters.
I thought this was a great film.
At first I thought the dogging would be the main focus, but as the film progressed a rather sweet and sometimes subtle love story emerged, which overtook the admittedly stark world of dogging. Some very good performances, the Chav being my fave, though what he was doing in Newcastle I don't know.
There's some great subtle comedy - the dogger who takes notes like a train spotter, and the doggers who oooo! and aaaa! at another doggers setup in his car, as if they were looking at a pigeon loft. Very northern UK-centric, but very funny.
Add an original story concept about something seldom talked about
publicly, include lively, interesting actors, then conclude the story
by by using every cliché available.
Sadly, this could have been far better than it turns out. It's definitely not the fault of anybody but the writer or whoever had final say on how the film ended.
The actors, camera people, post-production, sound crew, basically everyone but the writer, do everything possible to keep the film enjoyable despite the script. Hopefully, it was more of a studio/producer issue forcing a plain, boring, predictable, tedious, uncreative, pre-packaged ending on it because the plot and first hour really did show promise.
I'd never heard of "dogging" before catching "Public Sex" on Sundance. Even British reviews of this UK flick took inexplicable pleasure in belittling it. At a minimum, it deserves a cult following, much like its subject. Subtitled "A Love Story," this overlooked, naughty-but-nice gem uses occasional pseudo-documentary touches. Its main character, a young, unemployed, "investigative" journalist, shines a light, if you will, on the British phenom of dogging, couples shagging inside cars, at night, in public areas frequented for just that purpose. And dogging devotees aren't particularly shy about onlookers. Asked "How did you get into it?," one dogger responds, "How can you not get into it?" This proves true as the characters in "Public Sex" use dogging to find what they're really looking for and discover that, as one car door closes, another opens. Dogging, anyone?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lots of actor-operated hand-held camera shots (ala CLOVERFIELD). Lots
of cars driving around at night with bright interior lights. Lots of
trees. Lots of people appearing out of nowhere from behind the trees.
Was it mentioned that the cars have bright interior lights as they
What is missing are subtitles. The thick British English is impossible to understand. How come the Pythons, Benny Hill and the English TV stars seen on PBS are all so easy to understand, but not today's British movie actors? PUBLIC SEX seems to be harmless as a film, but not all that interesting. I might rate it higher if I can see it with subtitles.
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning
** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
So we have another Brit com aimed at the more laddish end of the British movie going population, this time exploring the phenomenon of 'dogging', where (in case you didn't know) people have sex in cars inviting others to watch. Truly an issue that needed addressing in amongst all the other important stuff going on in the world...it just needed the right film to address it, surely? Sadly, Simon Ellis's film just isn't it, an overlong, granily shot, largely plot less and rarely funny comedy drama that despite it's original touches (the cocksure chav with a heart of gold, the nice at heart girl who uses dogging sites to escape the clutches of her over protective father and the loss of her mother, the arrogant best mate who's really pathetic and vulnerable underneath) and despite not being as deplorable as the likes of Sex Lives of the Potato Men, still fails to really leave much of an impression at all. Since his 'acting' career hasn't been up to much since Basic Instink-t 2, why didn't they get ol' Stan Collymore involved for some more expert opinion? *
Astonishing that this was the only British film reckoned worthy of a
slot in the Tiger Competition at Rotterdam 2009. Programming the film
at all was a baffling move, but to position it in such a prestigious
slot is an embarrassment for all concerned.
It's a rubbishy, mirthless Brit-com that's opportunistic and exploitative, but without any of the positives of old-school "exploitation cinema."
Slim but convoluted plot hangs on the illicit sexual activity 'dogging' - semi-public in-car coitus - a practice that made some salacious UK tabloid headlines a couple of years back.
Here it becomes the saucy/seedy pretext for a sloppily-scripted, tut-tutting exercise in larkish prurience, involving various feckless young adults (one of them a priapic Geordie satyr played by newcomer Richard Riddell, who deserves much better material) in and around the Newcastle region.
NB : Given the location and subject-matter, surely 'Go Forth, Tyne Dogger' would have been a better title.
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