"Casting the actors the film did bring about a contrast of energies"
Moon Dogs is the debut feature of TV director Philip John (Being Human, Downton Abbey, Outlander), who is himself from the South Wales and written by Derek Boyle and Raymond Friel, and produced by Kathy Speirs. It showcases up and coming Celtic talent, where the three leads are played by Irish actress and singer/songwriter Tara Lee (The Fall, Raw, Jimi: All Is by My Side, The Odd Life of Timothy Green), Welsh actor Jack Parry-Jones (Da Vinci’s Demons, Back to Zero) and Scottish actor and musician Christy O’Donnell (Clique), with a stand-out supporting cast - Dennis Lawson, Tam Dean Burn, Niall Greig Fulton, Chris Donald, Tanya Franks, Geoffrey Newland and Shauna Macdonald.
We follow teenage step-brothers Michael (Jack Parry-Jones) and Thor (Christy O’Donnell) on a road journey from Shetland to Glasgow but not for the same reasons. Caitlin (Tara Lee), an aspiring Singer from Ireland deludes both of them, when it all comes to a head at a music festival, with a ceremonial Norse backdrop.
The three leads offer up performances, which despite their characters’ defects resonate an intense reality; Michael and Thor, speak in different accents, and are world’s apart. Michael conforms to what is seen as ordinary, growing up in Wales with his mother Anne (Claire Cage), he now lives in The Shetlands with Anne and her new partner Maurice (Jamie Sives).
Maurice’s son Thor is also a part of the package. All he seems to do is potter around in his room, while experimenting with Indie folk music. This has had a massive impact on their relationship and Maurice is deeply disappointed by Thor’s lack of interest in his Viking heritage.
The storyline, although contrived, gives purpose to the step-brothers travelling together to Glasgow; Michael has failed his A-levels, and blames Thor for it. He wants to locate his girlfriend Suzy (Kate Bracken), whose social life has expanded since having begun university and Thor wishes to track down his mother (Shauna Macdonald) who left when he was but a mere baby.
The unusual duo turns in to a trio, when at a wedding they gatecrash in Orkney, Irish waitress Caitlin (Tara Lee) decides to join them. Intelligent, confident, impelling, and sexually curious, she has just the right amount of energy to bring each brother out of his shell. Scenes of a sexually enticing nature follow, in which both boys are simultaneously pleasured.
MOON DOGS won the Best International First Feature at the Galway Film Fleadh 2016, was nominated by BAFTA Scotland BIFA, and both longlisted and selected as the Best of the Fest at EIFF 2016. Irvine Welsh also supports it, and is quoted as saying "Not one, not two but three stars are born in this beautiful movie."
Director Philip John said “Making a film is like bringing up a child. You love her, you dress her well, you teach her honesty then you boot her out the door so she can spread the word that rebellion is good.”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe feature on the film’s original soundtrack. They jumped onboard the filmic project back in February 2014; and are known for composing the music to the film Thor, as well as providing the original soundtrack. Their music has been described as ‘an embodiment of the celebration of the spirit of rebellion.’
Casting the actors the film did bring about a contrast of energies; and the Director of Photography (or Dop), Alasdair Walker exploits the grandeuse of the Scottish island to its fullest.