Dog – Film Review

Director: Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin

Writer: Reid Carolin

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jane Adams, Kevin Nash, Q’orianka Kilcher, Ethan Suplee, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Nicole LaLiberte

Rating: ★★★

Channing Tatum co-directs and stars in Dog, a comedy/road trip film about Army Ranger Jackson Riggs travelling cross-country with a military dog, Lulu. Jackson is taking Lulu to her handler’s funeral, and along the way they get caught up in various situations that delay their journey.

The film is set up as a series of escapades that Jackson and Lulu get into, ranging from trying to stay in a hotel by pretending to be blind, to getting captured and tired up by a farmer. They feel like mini self-contained episodes that build up the main film. By presenting it like this the pace is always very quick and if there’s ever a section that you don’t click with, and there are some questionable ones that aren’t as funny as other, it’ll be over soon and on to the next one. There’s something in here for everyone’s sense of humour and more than enough laughs throughout.

While at face value this seems like a family friendly comedy, there are a few moments where it may become a little too adult, with drug and sex references that may not be suitable for all ages. The films rated, at least in the UK, as a 12a. The film also moves into some dark themes at points with depression, suicide, PTSD and racism making plot points. There are moments where it becomes more emotional than you’d expect, and that’s where the film really works.

Channing Tatum does a great job both behind and in front of the camera. There are long stretches where it’s just Tatum talking and acting with Lulu, and it’s always authentic and feels real. There’s a real connection and that’s probably from Tatum naming Lulu after his real-life dog. As the bond between Jackson and Lulu grows throughout the film, it clicks more and becomes funnier as it goes on.

Not all of Dog works, but when it does it’s funny, charming, and surprisingly emotional. It’s a film that doesn’t shy away from some dark themes and does eventually win you over.  

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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