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Flash Movie Review: Dog

SHE WAS A QUIRKY LITTLE THING. The first time I met her, she stayed close to the walls of the room, shaking as if she had a chill. It was actually caused by anxiety, and this happened every time she met a new person. I had flown down to spend the weekend with a friend who had recently adopted this four-year-old dog, unaware of the dog’s quirks and strange behavior. My friend soon discovered the little thing was terrified of rain. She would not go outside if it was raining outside, pulling at her leash while crying and howling to the point she would throw herself down on the ground as if she were having a tantrum. It was the wildest thing to see. Feeding her was another ordeal; she was very picky about the food she would eat and many a time my friend would have to hand feed her. With the dog looking scrawny, my friend was trying to find the right combination of food that the dog would willingly eat. With my friend’s approval, I went out and bought a couple of food treats at the pet shop to offer this finicky four-year-old. On my second day there, the little dog took a brave step towards me. I had a treat in my hand, holding it out down close to the floor. The dog tentatively creeped towards my hand, sniffed me and the food before taking the food out of my hand and retreated to her cage, where she devoured it. It was progress.      FROM MY SUCCESS, THE DOG SOON stopped clinging to the walls and came up to me so I could pet her. I asked my friend how they chose this dog if they saw how afraid she was of people. My friend said the fear was momentary because they felt a connection quickly being established with the dog. They could not explain it fully, but said the dog had a high level of empathic behavior. I listened as my friend shared a couple of examples where the dog, sensing my friend was not feeling well, would snuggle up next to them for comfort. Their behavior would drastically, at least to its owner, change to be supportive of my friend whenever the need arose. It was the craziest thing I had heard. My friend continued throughout my visit to share different stories about this curious furball on four legs. By the end of my visit, I was totally convinced that the dog could sympathize with its owner over some heavy issues, let alone the lesser ones. She may not have the fighting instincts like the dog in this comedic drama, but I am willing to bet she could hold her own in lending a sympathetic ear.      BOTH DAMAGED BY THE WAR, A soldier and dog are stuck together for a road trip to attend a fellow soldier’s funeral. It was not going to be an easy trip for either of them. With Channing Tatum (The Lost City, Logan Lucky) as Jackson Briggs, Ryder McLaughlin (North Hollywood, Mid90s) as Deli teenager, relative newcomer Aavi Haas as the deli manager, Luke Forbes (Crown Heights, S.W.A.T.-TV) as Ranger Jones and Luke Jones (Acts of Revenge, Dope State) as the bartender; this film took a typical road trip story and turned it into a pleasing and enjoyable film. I became familiar with this dog breed, Belgian Malinois, in one of the John Wick films and have grown to love them. Their expressive faces and mix of sweetness and toughness made it easy for them to be an equal, solid character in the story. Channing turned in a beautiful performance that felt complete. If it was not for Channing and the dog, I do not feel this film would have worked as well, due to its predictability. With its straightforward telling and handful of warm moments, by the end of the film I wished I had one of those dogs in my life.

3 stars   

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