Moon Dogs (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Philip John, UK, 2016, 93 mins, English

Cast: Jack Parry Jones, Christy O’Donnell, Tara Lee

Review by Dee Pilgrim

Music and road movies really were made for each other, but in this small coming-of-age film, it is the soundtrack that proves to be more memorable than the trip it accompanies.

Set in Shetland and Glasgow the Moon Dogs of the title are teenaged half brothers – bolshy, sexually frustrated Michael (Jack Parry Jones) and quiet introvert Thor (Christy O’Donnell). They live on the magnificent isle of Shetland hardly communicating with each other and both dreaming of going out into the wider world; Michael to attend university and Thor to pursue his music.

But things don’t quite go to plan and when Michael misses out on his university place he sets off on a sea/road tour from Shetland to Glasgow with a very unwelcome Thor in tow.

Unfortunately, neither of them plans ahead or has any idea how they are actually going to get there with no money and so meeting worldly-wise aspiring singer Caitlin (Tara Lee) seems a good thing. But Caitlin has a colourful past and is soon getting them into all sorts of trouble. There are bust-ups, sexual interludes and a disastrous family reunion before the boys finally put their differences behind them.

Director Philip John is far more at ease and sure of himself when handling the musical scenes than he is handling his young cast who sometimes look slightly lost. Jones’ Michael is so stroppy and childish he comes across as something of a brat, while at the beginning of the film the pait of Thor is underwritten and really only comes into his own once the road trip starts. Tara Lee has a truly beautiful voice and the original electro-folk soundtrack by Anton Newcombe is probably the best thing about the movie.