Dog is a somewhat odd film, a take on a well-worn trope with a smidgeon of self-awareness thrown in. Sadly there’s not enough for it to have much of a lasting impact.
Starring Channing Tatum, the feature tells the story of Jackson Briggs, an army ranger who is tasked with transporting his dead comrade’s working dog, Lulu, down the west coast to his funeral. On the way, the two of them encounter a number of funny situations and unfortunate mishaps, straddling the blurry line between dramatic and hilarious.
There are things to enjoy here: Channing Tatum is very watchable and is at points quite charming. His performance, whilst nothing particularly new, is convincing, and he manages the comedic elements with ease. He also has some good moments of chemistry with Lulu, who is another standout aspect. The animal handlers on this film have done an excellent job and the scenes where she features prominently are far and away the best moments.
The film is also quite visually appealing, with a broad cinematic style that manages to pull some photographic punches. However, this only goes so far. Eventually, the shots of the protagonist on the hood of his pickup truck drinking a beer, framed against a beautiful sunset with the dog by his side, start to feel a bit grating – which is part of the larger problem at the heart of this film: tonal inconsistency. It flits between being a true-blue American family picture, with all the flag-waving, picturesque landscapes and Kenny Rogers one would expect, to being a self-aware and somewhat critical piece. The issue is that this isn’t developed enough, so the moments where Dog questions authorities or institutions come off as flat and a bit cynical.
It’s too back-and-forth and, whilst there are some genuinely interesting points made about how men should approach their own mental health, the end result is a film that is far too self-aware for its own good.
Dog is released nationwide on 18th February 2022.
Watch the trailer for Dog here: