Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum
Reid Carolin, Brett Rodriguez
Q’orianka Kilcher, Channing Tatum, Emmy Raver-Lampman
Rated: PG-13 for language, thematic elements, drug content and some suggestive material
All media used courtesy of Metro-Goldyn-Mayer (MGM)
Channing Tatum co-directs and stars as Briggs, an Army Ranger off duty due to having a diagnosed brain issue related to PTSD. He’s trying to get back into the field but needs a clean reference from someone to get him access to better jobs, but everyone see’s he’s not ready. That is until a friends passing gives the opportunity to prove he can handle a challenge. That challenge is in the form of he friends dog, who he will need to drive over to the funeral proceedings in about a weekends worth of travel time. The dog, Lulu, is also suffering from PTSD, as these two Rangers embark (HA!) on a journey that may show that they need each other and can help each other heal.
This movie is listed as a comedy, which feels false. Beethoven is a family comedy. Air Bud could be considered a comedy. This is a drama that attempts to give jokes that fall flat for me. Briggs is a character that could have a lot more to him, but the story only touches on the surface. We are alluded to him having a family, but again no real moment, and it’s never really followed up on by the end. The relationship with Lulu would be special, but it’s also strange how unable Briggs is to understand and take care of Lulu when he was literally in the field of battle with her.
There is an important point in shining a bigger light on what happens to these types of service animals as well as veterans after they have completed their jobs. A lot of times they the animals are put down due to not being able to come back to normal civilian life, because they were bred to be killers. I feel like there is something to be further explored there with Briggs. Additionally, I wish they had spent more time showing resources available, or delving deeper into why the military does what they do with the animals. That being said the moments between Briggs and Lulu are very touching, how can you not love a floof and their guardian bonding.
The acting by Channing Tatum is honestly the best it can be. He’s interacting with only Lulu most the film, and that can feel a little repetitive. I think had he needed to bring another person along who he could have those conversations with to build his character, the movie would be better off. You can only have so many scenes in a car with one actor talking to himself before it just feels redundant.
Overall, Dog is a film of two different minds. One is a serious drama wanting to explore PTSD in veterans human and animals alike. The other is a strangely humored family film and both sides just doesn’t seem to blend well with each other. If you love films about dogs definitely check this out, but maybe go in not expecting so much a comedy, but more a family drama