Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby


Reviewed by: Max Blinkhorn

Let me say at the outset that this is a wee gem of a film. Put all the nit picking you may have heard about locations and breeds aside, Greyfriars Bobby is a film trivia buff's dream about, in that there are incongruities in the story, but this is not a film for obsessives and grown-ups, it's for kids and their parents, OK?

Oh, and dog lovers. It delivers an hour-and-a-half of perfectly paced entertainment and I really enjoyed it.

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The key to the film is that the dog is the star. Humans play big parts, but the dog is the centre of the story. There are several excellent performances, notably James Cosmo as the gravedigger, Ardal O'Hanlon, who has the best lines, and the two "baddies," while steady work from Gina McKee and Greg Wise keep the story plausible. Beautiful cinematography, a good music score and outstanding costumes and location dressing top up the whole and the result is a film that could become a modern classic.

Greyfriars Bobby isn't a clever dick movie either. It's simple and is understood by kids under 12. However, this is also a film, which holds everyone's attention, and deals with some difficult issues really well.

What is the story? You don't know? Clever wee dog works with his master, a policeman, and is a general boon to his owner. Sadly, owner dies, but dog sits on his master's grave, "guarding" it. Villains try to get rid of dog. No joy. Dog is too gutsy and tenacious.

Over the years, dog wins friends, becomes well known, beats villains and, eventually, after many adventures, is honoured by the Provost of Edinburgh (Christopher Lee).

It's nice to see a film not full of egos and CGI inserts. The cast is chosen, I guess, for its ability to play roles well enough and not steal the animal's thunder. The dog is clearly excellent and a tribute to his trainer, Gerry Cott. Co-writer/director John Henderson's comment to the audience was to the effect, "If you don't like it, stuff you."

But John, we do like it.

It's nice and doesn't try to be anything else. Take as many kids as you can. They'll love it and you'll enjoy seeing that.

Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2006
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Story of the little dog with the big heart.
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Read more Greyfriars Bobby reviews:

JessPeeps (aged four) ****
Kotleta **

Director: John Henderson

Writer: John Henderson, Richard Matthews, Neville Watchurst

Starring: Oliver Golding, James Cosmo, Greg Wise, Gina McKee, Ardal O'Hanlon, Kirsty Mitchell, Christopher Lee, Sean Pertwee

Year: 2005

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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