As the United States is pushed to the brink of yet another war we have no business being in, it’s time to take a moment to think about the soldiers who suffer the most from these wars.
This time, we aren’t just talking about the men of the armed forces, but their pets too. We don’t traditionally think of dogs when we consider victims of war related PTSD but the film appropriately titled “Dog” looks to change that.
Actor Channing Tatum makes his return after taking a couple of years off from acting to star in a film about an unconventional road trip story with an unruly dog. U.S. Army Ranger Briggs (Tatum) is tasked with bringing Lulu, a Belgian Malinois military working dog, down the Pacific Coast from Joint Base Lewis–McChord in Washington to Nogales, Arizona in time to attend her handler’s funeral who died in combat.
Briggs has a difficult time trying to take care of Lulu who is a service dog that also deals with PTSD and has behavioral issues with civilians. Briggs deals with his own post-traumatic stress disorder as well as his difficulty with making emotional connections. Briggs has to rely on his friends and some helpful strangers to help make a connection with Lulu so they can make it to Arizona on time.
‘Dog’ is a pretty straightforward film that doesn’t raise the bar in terms of covering soldiers coming home to civilian life. Channing Tatum however, has great chemistry working with his canine companion and creates a charming feel that makes the film enjoyable for audiences. The film is essentially a buddy comedy that deals with serious human issues but the film finds a balance that keeps both genres from clashing.
The film was made on the lower end budget wise but ‘Dog’ makes great use of its limited cast. Ethan Suplee stars as Noah, a fellow Army Ranger who is great in his short role and looks great. Kevin Nash has a cameo as a crazed old man who Briggs befriends as his wife is great with service dogs.
Tatum is the draw here and he brings solid depth to the movie. The final act sells the film as a gripping drama and we can only hope people learn the lesson that there are long term consequences of sending our men and pets to war.
‘Dog’ is a film that doesn’t take many chances but it’s a competently written film that tackles some difficult topics while being respectable and believable.