Saturday, April 07, 2007

YEAR OF THE DOG

THE YEAR OF THE DOG is a very strange movie. Although there's a lot I liked about it, it's a movie that can't possibly have a wide audience.

I'm a (quasi) vegetarian and an animal lover. I sympathize with PETA but cannot condone their extremist actions. This movie is about a woman, played wonderfully by Molly Shannon, who loses her dog and becomes involved in animal rights. Unfortunately, she also slowly loses her sanity and as a result does not represent the best intentions of real animal rights activists. Ultimately, we learn that her dog died as a result of her own negligence as an owner. In fact, her character does not understand animals at all; she does not respond properly to an animal showing food aggression, and ends up becoming a hoarder, which is a confirmed psychological disorder.

Yet the characters are interesting, the casting is excellent, and the dialogue very well written. Writer/director (and occasional actor) Mike White has a great track record, writing SCHOOL OF ROCK and THE GOOD GIRL.

However, the tone is all over the place. Parts of the film are clearly intended to be darkly humorous, but I couldn't help but grimace in those scenes at the inappropriate actions she continues to follow throughout the film. It's moderately amusing at first, but increasingly disturbing.

I'm sorry I can't say I could recommend this film.
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