Review | Channing Tatum sets out on emotional road trip in ‘Dog’

Dog | Dir: Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin | ★ ★ ★ ★

Channing Tatum and his Magic Mike partner Reid Carolin were producers for the 2017 documentary War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend that explored the unbreakable bonds between military K9s and their elite Special Operations handlers. Moved by the physical and emotional challenges survived by the two-legged and four-legged soldiers, they have come together again to direct a fictional road journey based on the true stories they had come across.

After her handler dies, Lulu, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, needs to be driven across America for his funeral. Army Ranger Jackson Briggs (Channing Tatum), who is currently on medical leave, is given the task of taking the severely traumatised and reactive Belgian Malinois to his best friend’s funeral.

Briggs doesn’t particularly like dogs, and doesn’t want to form an attachment to this one, so he just calls her ‘dog’. He does however need to prove to his commanding officer that he can return to active service after sustaining a head injury in combat and he is determined to complete this mission as painlessly as possible.

As the 1984 Ford Bronco makes the trek across the country, it is obvious that there is no love lost between Briggs and the muzzled dog caged in the back of the car. Of course, like most road journeys, both the main characters have many lessons to learn as the miles tick away and challenges are placed in their path.

The film is rated PG-13 plus, so there is a guarantee of a happy ending as the sun finally sets, but there is quite a bit for the parents to explain to their tweens if they decide to see the film with them.

If you’re a dog person, the tears will start to well right from the beginning of the film but even if you’re not a dog person, there are enough emotional kicks in the film to affect you. Dog is a tough but extremely worthwhile journey for the audience.

Lezly Herbert

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