Let's get one thing out of the way here. The dog in this movie does NOT die. In films like this one, it's easy to speculate why that would happen, but that's not the case with Dog. This is a different breed of a film in the best ways. Dog acts are more of a road trip comedy with some heavy emotional tones of PTSD with Channing Tatum in the lead. This is a super sweet film full of love and sheds more light on the severe symptoms of PTSD that veterans are suffering from. Dog is fantastic. Highly Recommended for any dog lovers out there.
Most movies of this nature tell a formulaic story that ends in tragedy for the four-legged pet, but in Dog's case, the canine in question has been retired from active military duty already. Lulu has been a war hero for a while and was well respected for saving tons of lives in addition to taking out terrorists. Her handler and owner has unexpectedly passed away and now his fellow soldier Briggs (Tatum) is tasked with driving Lulu from Washington to Arizona to attend the funeral.
Not only does Channing Tatum star in the film, but this serves as his directorial debut with his Magic Mike and 22 Jump Street colleague Reid Carolin, revealing that both Tatum and Carolin have that great artistic eye behind the camera in this beautiful road trip movie. Dog definitely pulls on the heartstrings, but never in a forced or cheesy manner. Every bit of emotion is earned here as Tatum and his new dog friend try and bond across the country. This has more elements of comedy than it does drama, but the two genres mix well their ingredients to capture an exquisite friendship between human and canine.
What Carolin and Tatum's story does that most other films don't do is examine the effects and trauma of PTSD in both humans and animals. Certain triggers in sounds, clothing, and other ambient surroundings can cause a full mental breakdown, and it's very heartbreaking to watch unfold with Briggs and Lulu as they drive across the country. But with their companionship and having nobody else around, the two slowly form a great bond over time. From getting arrested, to stumbling on a marijuana farm with a former pro-wrestler (Kevin Nash), to even conning their way into a luxurious hotel as a blind man and seeing-eye dog, this film has a lot of fun with its subject matter.
The film even brings more weight to Tatum's character by giving him the added aches and pains of having a small child and broken family that he wants to mend, along with the military not really wanting him anymore due to his PTSD. Together though, both Briggs and Lulu will have to overcome their past to move forward and beat out their psychological drama. The dialogue feels very real with Tatum turning in a fantastic performance that is both funny and endearing. The way he talks to Lulu is precious and relatable to any dog owner. The needle drops throughout the movie are fantastic and put that stamp on pure Americana music.
This is a wonderful first effort behind the camera from Tatum and let's all hope he continues to direct. Dog is a different kind of film about those furry animals everyone loves and creates some original elements mixing great comedy and drama together without killing off anyone. Highly Recommended!