Sleeping Dogs Review – Raindance ★★★★

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Sleeping Dogs will make its debut at Raindance film festival on Saturday 5th October and is sure to make waves in the best possible way. A true passion piece, this independent feature was filmed over the course of a year on a phenomenally low budget, although you wouldn’t know to look at it.

Set in modern day London, and making the most out of the location, the film centres around Eve (Liberty Mills), whose blissful life was turned upside down the night her fiancé was violently attacked by an unknown assailant. Now a full time carer to the swiftly deteriorating Tommy (Simon Killick) she lives a bleak life; struggling to make ends meet whilst yearning for answers as to why this has happened to them. The only light on the horizon in an innovative new medical treatment which could free Tommy from his suffering; though it won’t come cheap for Eve– neither literally nor figuratively – and as she reaches out to Tommy’s old friends for help, namely the mysterious Roy (Jon Campling) and the cool, collected David (David. L Rooney), she finds herself delving into a past that may have been best left uncovered.

IMG_2961 (Large)The film is skilfully paced, feeling leisurely in a way yet containing a variety twists and turns that will have you constantly second guessing your beliefs about the characters and the situation. First time feature director Floris Ramaekers expertly builds tension throughout, engaging our attention from the opening credits and holding it right through to the final scene. The actors give themselves wholly to their respective roles, with Mills putting it a captivating performance as broken Eve who’s barely ever off the screen.

Moreover Sleeping Dogs looks wonderful, early soft focus and lingering shots are offset against the harsh realities of the characters plights, with the whole feature being anchored together by Teun Ramaekers affecting score.

However, as mentioned before, what’s most impressive about Sleeping Dogs is just how much the team has accomplished through such minimal resources; Ramaekers gives us a masterclass in budget management and, in terms of style, it is difficult to suggest any other piece, or director, that has achieved such high quality on such a shoestring.

Sleeping Dogs sets the bar very highly for this year’s Raindance, and indeed micro-budget indie films in general. Overall a gritty, harrowing thriller that’s not to be missed, with a very promising cast and director. Read our exclusive interview here

Katie Hall is the assistant editor at Critics Associated.