Reviewed by: Kotleta

"Plotless, fluffy, pseudo-sentimental rubbish."

Look at that cast list. LOOK at it. Edward Fox. Peter O'Toole. A Redgrave. John Lynch and Samantha Morton. I cannot begin to count the collective awards and honours held by these people, and nor can I explain what they are doing in a film so completely lacking in merit.

Surely there was a point, perhaps during the first week of filming, when one of them realised that this was not the film they had signed up for? That somewhere along the line, a beautifully written, touching, subtle, exciting and emotionally wrought screenplay had been swapped for half of The Incredible Journey and a bit of every BBC wartime drama ever made? Or maybe it was always plotless, fluffy, pseudo-sentimental rubbish and they just had nothing better to do.

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Sam (Lynch) and Sarah (Morton) live in wartime northern Britain where all the nice people are poor and all the women wear faded floral aprons and anxious expressions on their pasty faces. They have a pinched-looking small son, called Joe (Jonathan Mason), and a couple of dogs. The more glamorous of the dogs is called Lassie. A rich Duke (O'Toole) with a southern accent, decides he MUST own Lassie (no, really!).

The pit closes and Sam is out of work. With money too tight to mention, they sell Lassie to the Duke and Joe is heartbroken in an angry repressed wartime way. Lassie keeps running away, desperate to get back home (although the dog actor looks rather cheerful, no matter what). The Duke takes his granddaughter (Hester Odgers) and Lassie to Scotland. Lassie escapes and goes home. It's Christmas. The end. Well, more or less.

There are subplots, starring big name British actors, to pad the film out into feature length, but this was only ever a 30-minute Sunday teatime special, with too much money to spend than is good for it. If you like dogs and don't give a toss about storytelling, characterisation, dialogue, structure, logic, or anything else apart from dogs, then you might actually enjoy this.

I can't imagine who else possibly could.

Reviewed on: 15 Dec 2005
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The world's most famous dog has an adventure in wartime Britain.
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Director: Charles Sturridge

Writer: Charles Sturridge, based on the novel by Eric Knight

Starring: Samantha Morton, John Lynch, Peter O'Toole, Jonathan Mason, Peter Dinklage, Kelly Macdonald, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Gregor Fisher, Jemma Redgrave, Hester Odgers, Edward Fox, Robert Hardy, John Standing, Angela Thorn, Celyn Jones, Ken Drury, Jamie Lee

Year: 2005

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US/Ireland


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