Dog. Quick Review.

Look at this poster. It’s Channing Tatum with a dog. There have been enough bad family-centric animal movies in the last 20 years that surely a film that looks as generic as this one does on all levels has nothing to add. Well yes and no. On one level this is exactly the sort of film you’d expect from that poster. Channing Tatum is a former army ranger who has to transport his fellow soldier’s dog to his teammate’s funeral. So far it is a standard potential for animal-related hijinks premise. There are some of the typical bonding and misadventures audiences expect from this type of narrative. That said this is a decidedly more sombre and more ambitious film than viewers may be expecting. The piece wants to be a serious examination of the mental and physical impact left by several tools of duty as well as offering a standard “one man and his dog” movie. It’s a credit to the creative team the narrative mostly succeeds at what it sets out to do. As the credits rolled this viewer became annoyed that he could not rate the film higher than he is going to. This is because ultimately despite the greater ambitions and scope of this particular example you have seen this archetype done a million times before. The film does nothing to deviate from this very expected set of third act plot beats. If it had been more daring in this regard it would have gone from something commendable and worth seeing to the potential for true greatness. That said if an audience likes dog movies but is decidedly stuck with schmaltzy Marley and Me clones Dog rises above its generic marketing and is worth a look.

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