After donkeys years of buzz, I finally got a copied-copy of this film that I was told was the Aussie Sid & Nancy. Well, aside from the problems with the copy of the movie I have (several scenes skipped out - I had to go to YouTube to see them!!), I have to agree and disagree.
I can see how some people could make that comparison, as they both deal with the punk era and the fact that both movies end with a white limo scene. But in truth, I find Dogs In Space a more enjoyable trip down memory lane than S&N, and with a few nods to Breaking Glass thrown in for good measure.
The loose story is about trying to make it through the late 70's via the musical medium. The central characters are Anna and Sammy, not exactly icon or groupie, who live in a house with about 7000 other people, or so it seems some days. Some are studious, some are lost. Some desperately want to be musically inclined but can't seem to be much good at anything, and some hang around just to judge. Some want to score. Some want to fade away. Some want to change the world but can't even succeed in changing a light bulb. In short, your usual gang of punks. And just like in those party days, you're taken along room to room, conversation to conversation, sex to drug trip, ducking puke, furniture and arguments over nothing. These were the scenes that brought it all back for me - it's as if I were wandering through a party I'd gone to back in the day.
Anna is tolerant of her house mates and of her boyfriend, and seems to be the only one with a job. She is gracious and giving to a fault, and it is because of this that things go sadly wrong for her. Sammy is the lead singer of the band, content to be a kept boy by family and everyone else. He flops around with the cocksure swagger that only comes from oblivion, whether youth or chemically inspired. Or both. They have moments in which they create their own world together in the midst of all the chaos, and it's in those moments where we can see who they really could be. Those moments are quite touching on the 2nd viewing. Saskia Post gave a very sweet performance as Anna. And I have to say that Michael Hutchence was damn good in his role. His having known the guy he was portraying, and his coming from the punk scene, certainly helped.
Someone mentioned that it can be chancy to cast a musician in an acting role, but I've always thought it was a good bet. Musicians have to put on a persona of "rock star" every time they step on stage. They're used to playing a role almost every night. Many musicians are pretty good actors, but not many are given the chance. However, Michael Hutchence showed great promise. He was aspiring to do further work before his tragic and very sad demise. He is missed by millions to this day.
I'm not sure that this is a movie for everyone (understatement). It will, however, be incredibly nostalgic for those who were part of the punk scene, either as a band or a "poseur" (hanger-on). There was something very special about that time, and punks. They were pi**ed off, but on the whole good people who felt that they couldn't be good...if that makes sense. If you were friends, you stuck together and helped each other out the best you knew how. It may seem as if they treated everyone like the enemy, but they were just embroiled and united against whatever they perceived to be authority. Because, authority had let them down. They had been told that those of power would take care of their concerns, but in the same breath many were subject to poverty, mental/physical/sexual abuse, neglect - they saw the hypocrisy, and it angered them (as it would anyone). Many tried to escape these conflicts and problems, and bonded together in music, drugs, scrounging, sex - whatever they could grasp. It didn't feel so desperate, though, when you're in a house with 20 other people in a shanty or a "felony flat", and maybe that's why the memories are not all terrible. The only thing that ends it is someone dying. Someone always dies in everyone's group of friends. Which forces the group to no longer be a group and go it alone, shocked into reality, sadder, and hopefully a little bit more wise...or at least cautious.
If you made it through those days, this will be a tremendous flashback, complete with chainsaw and sheep but without the smell. What more could you ask from a punk film?
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