Reviewed by: George Williamson

There's nothing harder for a child than becoming an orphan. Jack and Danny's single mother dies while they're on holiday, leaving instructions that Danny is to parent his little brother. Unfortunately, while his heart is in the right place, Danny has a burgeoning DJ career and a new girlfriend in his life. He can't give the maternal love and patience needed, and soon Jack's love for his mummy starts to get out of hand...

The titular Dummy describes the dressmaker's model that the grieving Jack has adapted into a mother figure, but also could refer to its function as a pacifier for him; he clings to it, as a substitute for her, holding back the tears. Unfortunately, while the movie has some interesting ideas, the acting from the leads really lets it down.

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Jack's (Thomas Grant) endless complaining would be grating even if it was acted like an angel, but unfortunately the performance is badly overacted. This wouldn't be a problem if he had a minor role, but as most of the film rests on his shoulders it makes some scenes almost unwatchable.

Aaron Johnson - Danny, the older brother - is better, but while his stroppy angst adds dramatic tension it gets old fairly fast and can't save the film. On a positive note the soundtrack to the film by Long Range - a collaboration between Phil Hartnol (originally of Orbital) and Nick Smith - is a rather good ambient affair. Still, it's not enough to recommend the film on its own, even if you're a absolute rabid fan of Orbital.

It's a shame that Dummy doesn't work. The plot is sound, full of obsession and catharsis, and the cinematography is often good, but the quality of acting from the leads leaves too much to be desired, especially when films like Son Of Rambow and This Is England produce so much better results from their young stars.

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2008
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A coming of age drama about two young brothers whose mother dies suddenly, leaving them to fend for themselves.
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Director: Matthew Thompson

Writer: Paula Barnes, Michael Müller

Starring: Aaron Johnson, Thomas Grant, Therese Bradley, Emma Catherwood

Year: 2008

Runtime: 88 minutes

Country: UK

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