One of the strongest areas of British cinema over the last decade has been coming-of-age films. Traditionally, it has been a sub-genre which has thrown teenagers into huge life-changing situations which they overcome to enter adulthood. More recently, films such as Fish Tank, Submarine, The Levelling, This is England and An Education demonstrate how fertile the topic is as a base to explore other areas. Moon Dogs takes that subtlety to another level, encasing an engaging comedy drama within a road trip.
When his girlfriend (Kate Bracken) leaves Shetland to go to university in Glasgow, Michael (Jack Parry-Jones) is desperate to join her. However, he’s stuck on an island with his mother (Claire Cage), step-father (Jamie Sives) and decidedly odd step-brother Thor (Christy O’Donnell). In desperation, he enlists the help of Thor and the pair embark on their quest. They encounter a hedonistic waitress Caitlin (Tara Lee) along the way; the brothers facing their new-found independence with a mix of excitement and trepidation.
Philip John’s directorial debut is a sweet, energetic and funny voyage of discovery. It’s a Celtic collaboration, with Parry-Jones (Wales), O’Donnell (Scotland) and Lee (Ireland) all impressing. However, it’s Lee who steal the show. The singer and actress has a charisma and easy appeal which easily lead to stardom. The plot itself is purposefully overblown, reminiscent of raucous ‘70s British comedies. It also contains very touching moments. Moon Dogs is a superior British comedy which feels fresh, fun and thrilling.
Moon Dogs is in cinemas from Friday 1 September.