Dog [Grade: 93.75%]

Directors: Reid Carolin & Channing Tatum

Story By: Reid Carolin & Brett Rodriguez

Cast: Channing Tatum, Britta, Lana 5, & Zuza

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What a charming pet lovers film—especially those pet lovers and owners who’ve gone through the storm with their furry friends before having the relationship they have now.  

* * *

Theme: A

Plot & Story: A

Pacing: A

Character: A-

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Wait for Streaming

Film Enthusiasts: Don’t Watch

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch

Family Comedy & Dog Fans: Worth the Watch

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TAKEAWAYS:

1. Messaging that stood out to me focused on “not allowing trauma to dictate/determine your existence/how and where you exist.” 

Act One spends time allowing viewers to see just how Briggs is so consumed with, and in yearning of, his traumatic past—the familiarity and comfort of that past, specifically. 

Act Two gives viewers a chance to know Lulu and how trauma impacts her, and how her actions give off a similar yearning for a familiar past to that of Briggs—at least a yearning that would be implied/forced upon her based on her actions. The beauty of Act Two, however, is that Lulu had Briggs as her understanding… her trainer to recondition her in the ways that he somehow can’t seem to do for himself which is quite interesting. 

Act Three is the mutual realization bomb. The realization of each other being a reflection of one another in the most aggressive way, and then the cool down realization of the need for each other to help one another understand one’s purpose for survival and existing through the trauma. 👍🏾👍🏾

2. The hood of the truck conversation… 😩

3. A medically discharged and traumatized military ranger is tasked with getting a traumatized military dog to her owner’s funeral without a hitch with hopes of possibly being reinstated and redeployed if successful. This is Dog. 

Each Act does a great job using this plot to really drive messaging home. Act One gives images of this setting and existence that played a role in the trauma our characters carry in the first place, and how that trauma has impacted the outlook on life and existence for Briggs. 

Act Two brings our characters together to put the core of the plot in motion while also seeing the role of trauma in our canine friend’s world through the wild antics and experience of Briggs while with her on this road trip. 

And Act Three provides a clear and pretty predictable wrap up to our Dog and Human’s adventures together. 👍🏾

4. I am glad that took time to show the shoe string and plastic trick because I was like…👀🤨

5. Whew Chile… that hotel floor moment. 😢

6. Not he called her a b—… but I guess she is, technically… 👀🤷🏾‍♂️😅

7. The symbolism of the truck… 👍🏾

8. Dog has a runtime of close to 100 minutes, and it’s a really engaging use of time. There was never really a dull moment, even during the “rain scene” that could’ve been a miss, and I think a large part of the pacing working so well was due to also having strong characters to follow, which leads me to point #9…👍🏾

9. Channing Tatum was really great and charming to watch with our 3 canine actresses, and our 3 canine actresses were also really fun to watch. I think it’s said that people and their pets are like 2 odd couple roommates vs owner and pet, and that’s what it felt like with Channing and Zuza / Lana 5 / Britta. I knew I was watching this man and dog, but it also felt like I was watching a man hilariously deal with, and take accountability for, a challenging child, sister, or girlfriend even. They really made the viewing of this film feel good. 

Additionally, both characters embodied the theme of trauma and existing in very unique ways, with that end half of Act Two and later half of Act Three truly giving the message strength (as mentioned / implied with point 5). 

My only issue with the characterization has to do with the intent behind the character Briggs being as fully flushed out as it could’ve been. It seemed as if he was supposed to be a man who “didn’t know how to care about others/struggled to express love for others,” when in actuality he was “caring” in his own way…but was “douchebag” adjacent/“military bro.” I mean, I get that it would’ve been too much (and wrong) to see him be more verbally and emotionally abusive towards Lulu and other adults, but I feel like that’s what I needed from a character like him vs plugging in the “family” components who he clearly had feelings for. 

OR just figure out how to make his issue being that he struggles to make connections with others outside of the military with his trip being more like Forrest Gump. ??🥴🤷🏾‍♂️👍🏾

10. For objectification purposes… Channing in that white tee… in the rain… and that back. My goodness. 😜

* * *

Overall #Dog gives Major Payne meets – Man’s Best Friend meets – Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. 

Firstly, shout out to Channing’s directorial debut being something so heartfelt. Granted, you can feel the machismo is the story—it was like someone said, “create the most beautiful, tear jerking penis using a collage of puppy pictures and hearts” LMAO. But it was cute. LOL I actually found myself about to cry in those final minutes of Act Three. 

Additionally, I really liked how this story took something like trauma, that is very familiar to us as “people/humans,” and paired it as a shared experience with an animal that is not only beloved, but also the go-to animal in times of traumatic need. 

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