Moon Dogs ****

U.K. / Director Philip John/90 mins

Synopsis: Two teenage step brothers (Jack Parry-Jones and Christy O’Donnell) head off on a road trip across Scotland in order for one of them to see his Girlfriend in Glasgow. Their relationship is challenged by the free spirited and enigmatic Caitlin (a charismatic Tara Lee) who comes between them. 

A stunning and fun feature debut with a fantastic soundtrack. 

Thor (O’Donnell) agrees to join his Step-brother Michael (Parry-Jones) for a road trip from Shetland to Glasgow, in order for the latter to see his girlfriend. Thor has an alterer motive he wants to meet his mother who has long since abandoned him. Before they even reach the mainland they manage to run into trouble until they meet Caitlin (Lee) who helps them out. She joins them on their adventure as she is also heading to Glasgow to play at Celtic Connections.

On the outset the film feels like a Celtic version of Todd Phillips ‘Road Trip’ (the main players are Scottish, Welsh and Irish. However it does not have the silly wackiness that movie has. What distinguishes the two is that’Moon Dogs’ has a cracking script by Derek Boyle and Raymond Friel blending funny situations with sensitive issues and interesting characterisations. Although climax feels rather rushed and uneven.

Director Philip John who recently has been directing period dramas with ‘Outlander’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ directs his first foray into features with visual panache and vigour with stunning cinematography of the Scottish landscapes. 

All involved give impressive performances especially Tara Lee who has the hard role of portraying someone who on the surface has unlikable characteristics, but who is trying to deal with her own insecurities.

All these elements are aaccompanied by unforgettable unique soundtrack by Anton Newcombe.

This tale of rebellious angst is uplifting, funny and never dull. It will interesting to see how everyone involved follows this accomplishment.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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