ME OR THE DOG

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 14 minutes
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Tom (Edward Hogg) and Kelly (Kemi-bo Millar) are in a relationship, though it is one that is under the close scrutiny of Dudley the dog (voice of Martin Clunes). Tom can hear Dudley as if Dudley were speaking like any other human and endures more so than tolerates Dudley’s ideas that Kelly is having an affair. Then again, Dudley can be very convincing and, as we learn over the course of the short film, Tom isn’t always the most “with-it” guy in the room.

While the tale of a man who can hear his dog speaking in a human voice is nothing new (see Family Guy and Wilfred for the most obvious, current comparisons), Me or the Dog eventually tackles it in a more dramatic fashion. I say “eventually” because, to start, it does feel like something we’ve seen before, only in this case the comedy, such that there is, is extremely deadpan and dry (which makes the harsh tonal shift to come slightly less off-putting). For the many minutes where it finds itself inhabiting similar vibes as Wilfred, for example, it comes across as the lesser in the comparison.

So it’s a good thing that it does try to mix the premise up a bit, for when this film turns for the dramatic, it turns hard. All of a sudden that lighthearted, though deadpan and dry, “guy can hear his dog speaking” thing gets a new perspective; we’re suddenly presented with more than just the whimsy of whether a dog can speak, and more the possible reasons why someone might think they can hear the dog speaking, and what that may mean to those around them. Suddenly, the film is sad and tragic. And who knows, had it kept going, perhaps it’d be wandering into Son of Sam territory too (the framework is certainly there).

Overall, Me or the Dog suffers mostly from the initial easy comparisons to other projects similar in premise, but it does redeem itself on some unique, dramatic footing by the end, which sets it apart just enough. Additionally, the cinematography in this film is well on its game, with a number of wonderful camera moves and stellar composition. Strictly speaking on the technical side of filmmaking, and there’s nothing negative to say about it.

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Posted on October 20, 2012 in Reviews by
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