‘Dog Gone’ Review: A Boy Goes in Search of His Dog

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The dog is humanity’s most loyal companion. So it is quite sad that so many people around the world treat dogs and animals in general in such a despicable way. However, Dog Gone is a movie that goes against all that and shows a brighter and more hopeful future for our relationship with these creatures that share the world with us. The movie, which is now available on Netflix, goes really hard into depicting a relationship between a boy and his dog in the purest of ways. As well as showing how the relationship with animals can change people from top to bottom.

Dog Gone is a film directed by Stephen Herek and stars Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Johnny Berchtold, and Nick Peine. The movie tells the story of Fielding, a young man who, after a hard breakup, decides to get a dog. Everyone warns him about it because they feel Fielding is too immature to take care of another being. However, things take a happy turn when Fielding gets in his Gonker, the best friend he could ever have. Until Gonker disappears, and Fielding and his family jump into the search.

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Dog Gone is one of those feel-good movies. It isn’t a wonderful movie by any standard. The plot is predictable, the characters are too artificial and generic, and the overall technical level of the film makes it look more like a Hallmark film than anything else. And yet, the film works because it appeals to the feelings of the audience instead of their intellect. There is nothing wrong with this. Movies, like any piece of art, are there to make us feel something, and by that standard, the film is more than successful.

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Movies are, maybe more than any other piece of art outside the video game medium, the best way to manipulate someone into thinking or feeling one way or another. Movies use audio cues, music, lighting, acting, and visuals to lead our feelings and our minds in very different directions. If a movie wants to make you cry, then, if done well, it will probably succeed. It is the same if a movie wants to make you laugh, or get you excited about an action sequence or plot development.

So, to say that movies are a manipulating medium is not a lie and nothing bad against it. Of course, such power can be used for evil, but in the case of Dog Gone, the movie just wants to make you feel the same rollercoaster that the main character is suffering. No one wants to lose their dog, so when things happen to Fielding, we really get into his own mindset. The anxiety and the stress begin to rise, and you just want to know if they find Gonker or not.

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Outside of the main storyline, the movie tries to do some character work with the human characters. For example, Fielding is a character that is depicted as lost, naive, and completely living in a bubble. So, losing his dog takes him out of that bubble and on a journey to face the world outside. A world that mainly feels cold and dangerous, but the movie quickly turns into a place where people can help each other and look after each other. Especially, if the motivation is to help a person find their dog.

In terms of visuals, the movie is really nothing to write home about. We are talking about a film that feels very much like something that needs to be on television and not in a movie theater. It is a fascinating phenomenon to see that the distinction between something that deserves a theatrical release and something that doesn’t is so clear now. Dog Gone goes for that overlit look that makes everything look too pretty and too perfect. It certainly goes for a look that is better suited for television.

The movie is also not interested in doing any sort of visual play using the camera. Herek seems to be only interested in telling the story and calling it a day. There are no memorable visuals in this movie. After the credits roll, the visuals start getting muddled, as well as the plot. The feelings that the movie portrayed are the only thing left. So, while you might forget about the movie and the story just days after seeing it, you will probably remember the movie fondly when someone brings its name back to you.

In the end, Dog Gone is not a movie that will win any awards or make you think about the art of filmmaking in any deep way, but it will certainly make you feel good as you watch it. There are some very dramatic scenes in it that might trigger memories in some members of the audience, but the overall experience is quite delightful and sweet. Not every movie needs to be an intellectual exercise or do something new or daring within the medium. Some movies are just there to be watched and forgotten but always felt.

SCORE: 6/10

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