Sleeping Dogs (1977)

  • Action, Drama, Thriller
  • 1h 47m

Roger Donaldson’s feature debut was the first local feature to gain international recognition and get distribution in the USA, and this military fantasy has even more resonance today than it did on its release.

With a tiny budget, Donaldson manages to depict a nation’s civil war by keeping the focus on one man caught up a conflict he wants no part of and only opening up for some well-thought out action sequences.

The tension is kept at a high pitch through the drip-feeding of information. We don’t discover Smith’s situation all at once, but as it becomes clear, his motivations for doing what he does also come into focus. We are kept almost exclusively in Smith’s point-of-view, showing a man unwittingly being used by both sides of the conflict as the government becomes a dictatorship and the police force an army.

A very young Sam Neill shows the mixture of vulnerability and steely determination that has characterised many of the roles he’s gone on to play in the years since this startling debut.

Director

Roger Donaldson

Language(s)

English

You may also like

Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song
  • Musical
  • 1h 47m
The World's Fastest Indian
  • Drama, Biography
  • 2h 6m
Come to Daddy
  • Comedy, Thriller
  • 1h 34m
Whale Rider
  • Drama, Family
  • 1h 41m
Boy
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 1h 30m
An Angel At My Table
  • Drama, Biography
  • 2h 34m
Came a Hot Friday
  • Comedy
  • 1h 45m
The Heart Dances
  • Documentary
  • 1h 38m
She Shears
  • Documentary
  • 1h 19m
Herbs Songs of Freedom
  • Documentary
  • 1h 31m
We're Here to Help
  • Drama
  • 1h 25m
Vigil
  • Drama
  • 1h 30m
Utu Redux
  • Action, Adventure
  • 1h 47m
Topless Women Talk About Their Lives
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 1h 30m
The Quiet Earth
  • Science Fiction, Drama
  • 1h 31m
The Price of Milk
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 1h 27m
The Navigator - A Medieval Odyssey
  • Fantasy, Adventure
  • 1h 30m
The Dead Lands
  • Action, Adventure
  • 1h 48m
The Dark Horse
  • Drama, Biography
  • 2h 4m
Stickmen
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 1h 34m
Smash Palace
  • Action, Drama
  • 1h 48m
My Wedding and Other Secrets
  • Comedy
  • 1h 28m
In My Father's Den
  • Drama, Mystery
  • 2h 7m
Illustrious Energy
  • Drama
  • 1h 30m
Goodbye Pork Pie
  • Action, Adventure
  • 1h 30m
The Catch
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 1h 25m
What We Do in the Shadows
  • Comedy
  • 1h 26m
No Ordinary Sheila
  • Documentary
  • 1h 38m
Show of Hands
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 1h 39m
Mosley
  • Animation, Adventure
  • 1h 36m
Beyond the Edge
  • Drama
  • 1h 31m
For My Father's Kingdom
  • Documentary
  • 1h 37m
Celia
  • Documentary
  • 1h 40m
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Action, Adventure
  • 1h 37m
The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Philipps
  • Documentary
  • 1h 35m
Pecking Order
  • Documentary, NZ Title
  • 1h 28m
Yellow is Forbidden
  • Documentary
  • 1h 32m
Vai
  • Drama, NZ Title
  • 1h 30m
Hillary: Ocean to Sky
  • Documentary
  • 1h 46m
Vermilion
  • Drama
  • 1h 32m
Dan Carter: A Perfect 10
  • Documentary
  • 1h 30m
Old Dog
  • Documentary, NZ Title
  • 1h 6m
Waru
  • Drama, NZ Title
  • 1h 26m