Duration: 100 Minutes
Triggers: War, Death
Plot: Dog follows Briggs, a US Ranger suffering from PTSD apart from several injuries after his outpost. In an attempt to get back out, Briggs is assigned a job on the down low to transport a military trained dog Lulu who has trouble interacting with people, to her handler's funeral.
Review: Dog marks Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin's directorial debut exploring the aftermath of war on men and pawed companions. With a shorter run time of 100 minutes, the film sticks to its premise closely as Lulu continues to grow on the audience's minds.
Dog begins with Channing Tatum's US Ranger Briggs waking up while having a seizure. He falls off his bed unable to move until the seizure passes, once it does he goes back to his daily routine like nothing happened. Off-field, he has been working at a local fast food store to get by after his brain surgery. Despite being cleared by his doctor for work, he is being kept off-field but Briggs is not ready to give up.
When he arrives at the funeral of his fellow Ranger, he continues to hope that someone will make a call to get him back in. The opportunity presents in the way of his dead Ranger friend's dog - Lulu. The dog is known to be difficult to work with and is unable to connect with humans, now that her handler has passed away. She is always muzzled-up and kept indoors as she is known to bite anyone who comes close to her.
Riggs is asked to take her to her handler's funeral, which will take a five-day drive, post which, she will be put down. Riggs and Lulu struggle at the beginning of the trip but begin to develop a bond as they spend more time with each other.
The makers stick to the most basic logline of the story giving the film a simple 90s family drama vibe, but it is the premise that works against it most of the time. The film explores PTSD among military personnel which makes it a perfect release, as people need a reminder of how bad war could be, but the fact that it follows a US personnel made it worse for me in some ways.
However, Lulu's presence does overpower some of the bad premises except the writing. Tatum and Reid continue to struggle between approaching the film as a family drama- road trip and an early 2000's raunchy comedy films. The latter is Tatum's domain and he continues to give the audience what he is known for (cue: Magic Mike). The actor manages to surprise with a few adorable scenes with Lulu, showing his compassion as a dog owner.
The screenplay skips many emotional stages of their journey together and trades it for scenes that put Tatum forward as the sensitive and emotionally damaged male lead. Lulu, who the film is supposed to follow, unfortunately, ends up on the sidelines, becoming the sacrificial pawn for Briggs' emotional arc.
Overall, Dog may pull you in with Lulu's desperate eyes but it is not enough to save the lazy writing. There are plenty of other films centred around pawed companions that actually do them justice.