Dog is not man's best film friend

Channing Tatum's latest film provides a lack of depth in its action and conflict

Rachel Carron
9th March 2022
Image credit: IMDB
Channing Tatum’s Dog follows the story of a retired military Belgian Malinois, Lulu, who is being transported by injured and PTSD suffering soldier, Briggs, shortly after the suicide of the Lulu’s owner and Briggs’ friend. The conflict of the plot presents itself in the fact that the dog is going to be put down by the military after attending its owner’s funeral and Tatum’s character is only transporting the dog for his ticket back into the army.

Based on first impressions one might ask themselves, ‘how is Tatum going to avoid cliches in yet another film about an unlikely friendship between man and dog?’. The short answer is he doesn’t.

If you are or know any die-hard Tatum fans this is the film for you! Yet, if you find yourself in a different category I wouldn’t go rushing to your nearest cinema

The film seems to rush itself into the action and conflict, to which the audience can see the crystal-clear resolution: don’t put the dog down, don’t go back into the army. There is very little moral dilemma in the win-win, lose-lose dichotomy set up for our protagonist – making it hard to feel invested as the audience.

Another aspect that makes it difficult for the audience to connect is the lack of emotional range in both dog and man. The low points are not that low nor are the high points that high. Furthermore, it is hard to see past Channing Tatum’s ‘character’ as just Channing Tatum being Channing Tatum under his own direction. Not to say that Channing Tatum is a particularly bad actor, but that he doesn’t appear to be doing all that much acting in this particular film.

Image credit: IMDB

For all this, the film does have an obvious political motivation. I say obvious but in actuality, it’s fairly difficult to understand the point the film is making. It both condemns and celebrates the classic military man’s enemy, the dreaded hippies (of Portland). With their artisanal wine, spirituality, and left-wing beliefs, oh the agony! The film also both condemns and celebrates a patriotic militaristic lifestyle which is the cause of conflict in the film as well as justified by our protagonist.

All in all, I was expecting this film to be a winning formula for a cathartic cinema cry (dog plus army plus loss) but unfortunately, there was nothing but dry eyes in the theatre. If you are or know any die-hard Tatum fans this is the film for you! Yet, if you find yourself in a different category I wouldn’t go rushing to your nearest cinema.

2.5/5  

Video credit: MGM
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