Coming to theatres from writer/directors Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum and MGM/UA is the story of two soldiers and one of them is the furry four-legged DOG.
Briggs (Channing Tatum) is not happy with life working at a sandwich shop and trying to get reinstated as an Army Ranger for another rotation overseas. Learning that friend Sgt. Rodriguez has passed, he joins his fellow soldiers to be together talking about experiences only they all know about. Discovering his Captain is also there, he tries everything to get a telephone call to make rejoining his fellow soldiers happen.
An agreement is struck that Briggs would take Sgt. Rodriguez’s service dog to his funeral and the captain would make the call. The problem is the dog, Lulu, is not exactly happy to be around anyone. A binder filled with information shows she is suffering trauma and is very aggressive.
Almost immediately, Lulu sets her own ground rules and Briggs becomes immediately frustrated. Acting out, it is one frustration after another as Briggs tries to prove he is the more intelligent of the two. But the chase is always on between them as he is dealing with darts in the butt cheek, interruption of a bit of adult yoga, having things be stolen and car breaking down.
Each episode makes it difficult for Briggs to get where he needs to be for the family funeral service in Nogales. Along the way, both Lulu and Briggs have to come to terms with what is in their hearts and minds, the understanding could go a long way between both healing.
Tatum as Briggs wants nothing more than to get back into action. The problem is he has issues that are being ignored or hidden by sarcasm and just plain acting as if nothing is wrong. The relationship with Lulu is when all of those things no longer work for him bringing about frustration and bad choices. Tatum’s character tries the ‘I am smarter because I am human’ logic on a dog that clearly does not think that is a valid thing. The on-screen chemistry between the two is sad, funny, cute and endearing which won my heart. This is the perfect role for Tatum.
Now, lets talk about Lulu (plays by three Belgian Malinois) who basically stole the show. Starting out as an anxious dog that is misunderstood as aggression, she has such expressive and beautiful eyes, yet no one sees. There has been so much trauma for the pup, but humans think their trauma is much more important that they miss what is clearly in front of them. Lulu has a mind of her own, sees the world as she was trained to see it and shows confusion about everything being so different, especially with Briggs not being Sgt. Rodriguez. I just love this dog to pieces.
Shout out to Nash as Gus the pot growing big guy who just made us laugh ourselves silly and Adams as Tamara as Nash’s wife who sees Lulu for what she is. I thought both of these characters just came out of nowhere yet seemed to understand everything. Awesome.
Other cast include Q’orianka Kilcher as Niki, Emmy Lampman as Bella, Kevin Nash as Gus, Jane Adams as Tamara, Aqueela Zol as Callan, Darren Keilan as Ranger Lucas, Cayden Boyd as Corporal Levitz, Skyler Joy as Natalie, Amanda Booth as Tiffany and Eric Urbiztondo as Sgt. Riley Rodriguez.
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DOG is a journey that truly is an experience for those who understand what happened to Sgt. Rodriguez and what is happening with Briggs is relatable. It is the issue of soldiers who come home with body and mind trauma and feeling that there is no other way out because the pain is to much.
The character of Briggs thinks the answer is to jump right back into the very thing that has given him so much pain and confusion. Needing that camaraderie, he is willing to do whatever it takes to get that again, except deal with the death of a friend. Tatum also gives his character the ability to walk away from a family feeling justified for doing so.
This film is not an action story but instead a story on the importance of the traumas of soldiers (be it two or four legged soldiers) and what happens when they can no longer run from what brings them such pain. Briggs and Lulu have more in common than either realizes, but their stubbornness gets in the way from what turns into an amazing relationship.
In the end – a filthy animal unfit for human company and a…dog!