When Devon, a 10-year-old girl, forges a friendship with Trent, a 21-year-old outsider who mows the neighborhood lawns, things suddenly get very complicated and private.When Devon, a 10-year-old girl, forges a friendship with Trent, a 21-year-old outsider who mows the neighborhood lawns, things suddenly get very complicated and private.When Devon, a 10-year-old girl, forges a friendship with Trent, a 21-year-old outsider who mows the neighborhood lawns, things suddenly get very complicated and private.
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Dolby Digital
The haves and have-nots are put under the microscope in John Duigan's diverting drama LAWN DOGS, and it's the haves who come up wanting in every respect. Sam Rockwell (CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND) is the penniless gardener-cum-handyman who makes a fragile living tending the lawns of contemptuous rich folk, all of whom view him with deep suspicion whilst indulging their own dubious peccadilloes behind closed doors. Mischa Barton (THE SIXTH SENSE, TV's "The O.C.") is a lonely 10 year old girl who's been shielded from the world by her wealthy parents following a recent health scare (she has a faulty heart), but she dares to strike up a friendship with Rockwell after stumbling onto his ramshackle home in the woods, a friendship which she pursues against Rockwell's wishes, until their 'secret' is forced into the open and grossly misinterpreted by Barton's vengeful family.
While the moneyed set lives in antiseptic splendour and conceals its hypocrisy behind security measures of every description, Rockwell's character enjoys an open life in a beautiful forest environment, like the witch Baba Yaga in Barton's favourite fairy tale. In fact, there's a magical, otherworldly quality to much of the film (rendered explicit in the final reel), though the central narrative is fairly low-key and revolves around Rockwell's frequent encounters with the dissolute low-lifes who dare to think themselves superior. With his wiry frame and white trash southern accent, Rockwell strikes something of a romantic figure (watch out for his full-frontal nude scene early in the film), though he never stoops to eccentricity or excess. For one so young, Barton is excellent in such a demanding role, and she holds her own against an experienced adult cast (including Christopher McDonald and Kathleen Quinlan as Barton's narrow-minded parents, and Eric Mabius as the rich jock who can barely conceal his attraction to Rockwell). Beautiful cinematography by Elliot Davis (KING OF THE HILL).
- Jan 9, 2005