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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Edition No 912 
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DAGS

SYNOPSIS:
Dags is the story of a group of friends pursuing their hopes and dreams. Cheryl (Tanya Bulmer) dumps her pot smoking loser boyfriend Daryl (Brian Roberts) outside the local video store and is immediately taken hostage during a fake robbery by Trevor (David Callan), who has conspired with the video store assistant, Kevin (Daniel Cordeaux), to rob him, in order for them both to achieve instant fame. When the local media hear of Cheryl’s kidnapping, all three are thrust into the spotlight but end up with more than they bargained for.

"Murray Fahey’s low budget mockumentary style film is a tongue in cheek look at the Australian species. According to the Macquarie Dictionary, a dag is an untidy, slovenly person who, while neat in appearance and conservative in manners, lacks style or panache. Other references to dag, include the wool on a sheep’s rear quarters, often dirty with mud and excreta. So from the dictionary alone, the inference is clear - here is a parody of the average Aus-strine, dirty washing and all. Shot in similar vein to This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting For Guffman, this naughty, offensive, absurdly entertaining film brings the same type of character to life that The Castle successfully did, with blatant truths, amusing plays on profanities and slapstick played out in the most ridiculous situations. According to the film, a male dag likes football, sex and procreation, while the female dag indulges in fashion, music and furry upper lips. The explanations are illogical, the humour base, yet there is a rough appeal about Dags, which canvases issues of unemployment, eating fast food, kidnapping and the pressure of getting married, with humour and a sense of the absurd. Laughter is the best medicine, and while this is rough and uncouth, it’s as strine as it gets, and showcases Aussie humour frankly and without frills."
Louise Keller

"One day, the wind will blow and Murray Fahey will stay like this – his dark hair dyed blond, his speech filled with expletives and his eyes wide and rolling, just as he appears in this his fourth feature film. For a writer/producer/director/actor, Fahey is comprehensively out on his own, although Yahoo Serious also set about doing everything on his films, and also to stretch the comic envelope. But Fahey has done it all at the low end, with no Government funding – nor indeed, any private investor playing sugar daddy. It’s all done on his credit cards, his mother’s house mortgage and his cast and crew deferring wages. It’s tempting to think of Charlie Chaplin here, but only as a distant reference for the type of guerilla filmmaking involved: and yet, yes, the Aussie dag is truly the little man of Charlie’s heroic view, even though they do not share the same romantic, idealistic optimism about human nature. Dags is a film about the people who might live down the road from the Kerrigan family’s Castle. . . The script is a volatile mix of character assassination and pyrotechnic Australian varnecular: there is a scene, for example, where the conversation under an open bonnet, about the engine problems of the car, is a duel of expletives, rising to a crescendo of meaningless but somehow earnest foul-mouthings. Fahey touches on something here, something much deeper than he intended, perhaps. There is a fall-off in the dynamic of the film half way through, and the budget limitations are evident – albeit bravely overcome. Anyway, you’ll probably forgive most of them."
Andrew L. Urban



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

Read Andrew L. Urban's feature on
THE MAKING OF Dags

DAGS (M15+)
(Australia)

CAST: Tanya Bulmer, Penny Cooper, Sheena Crouch, Rebecca De Unamuno, Paula Arundell, Peter Callan, Daniel Cordeaux, David Callan, Sam Makhoul, Murray Fahey, Angus Sampson, Brian Roberts, Lyn Pierse, Frank Garfield

DIRECTOR: Murray Fahey

PRODUCER: Murray Fahey

SCRIPT: Murray Fahey

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Borosh

EDITOR: Brian Kavanaugh

MUSIC: Frank Strangio

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew Crichton, Kate Walker

RUNNING TIME: 80 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Winfalz Conventry

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Canberra, October 15, 1998; Sydney Jan 21, 1999







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