Sleeping Dogs Lie (1998) starring Wendy Crewson, Joel Keller, Leon Pownall, Shawn Doyle directed by Stefan Scaini Movie Review

Sleeping Dogs Lie (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Wendy Crewson in Sleeping Dogs Lie (1998)

A Small Matter of a Missing Person

December 1919 and Ambrose Small (Art Hindle), a Toronto theatre magnate has sold several of his properties for in excess of a million dollars which his wife Theresa (Wendy Crewson) deposits in to their bank account. But shortly after Ambrose disappears and whist Theresa believes he has gone off celebrating his business partner along with his father and others suspect something bad has happened and call in the police. As Inspector Mitchell (Leon Pownall) starts his inquiries suspicion falls on Theresa leading to her to hire detective Cole Willis (Joel Keller) who has been infatuated with her from the minute he met her.

It's 2015 and it has almost been 100 years since the real Ambrose Small suddenly disappeared, yes if you were not aware "Sleeping Dogs Lie" is based upon a true story. But I need to burst your bubble now because the case was never sold and to my knowledge no body was ever found and no one was ever sentenced for his murder.

So what do we get in "Sleeping Dogs Lie"? Well we get a brief set up which establishes the various parties involved including Ambrose's father Daniel Small who ran Corman Distilleries having brought it from Theresa's family. So we have various people, a large sum of money, a missing man and a cop as well as the media suspecting Theresa being behind it and from there the story is pretty much told from the side of young detective Cole Willis as he sets about clearing Theresa's name whilst falling for her. Along the way we see how psychics are brought in to try and solve things and much more including a dodgy business partner who tries to flee with some money.

The trouble is that despite being essentially a murder mystery from the prohibition era "Sleeping Dogs Lie" ends up lacking atmosphere, excitement and a sense of urgency to draw you in. It means that whilst it has the look with nice sets and consumes it constantly struggles to keep you focussed on the unfolding drama. It also struggles to draw you in with the characters with no one really doing a good job of standing apart from anyone else especially Joe Keller who sadly ends up non descript as Cole Willis.

What this all boils down to is that "Sleeping Dogs Lie" failed to do it for me and failed to deliver enough drama and excitement as well as memorable characters to draw me in and keep me involved.