Off The Leash

Stars: Channing Tatum, Jane Adams, Kevin Nash, Oriana Kilcher, Ethan Suplee, Emma Raver-Lampman, Bill Burr and Luke Forbes
Directors: Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin
Scriptwriters: Reid Carolin and Brett Rodrigues
Composer: Thomas Newman
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer/FilmNation Entertainment/United Artists
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 90 Minutes 

What better time to release a film about animals, in this case, a dog.  February—the month of valentine’s, love and Channing Tatum starring and co-directing (with Reid Carolin) the film “Dog.”  Title speaks, or woofs, for itself. This is the story of a man who is wounded inside and trying to mend himself, and a military dog named “Lulu” who is also wounded inside and trying to comprehend what is going on in her world. The word “attachment” has new meaning here. 

As the story goes, Briggs (Tatum) is a former Army Ranger, who is trying to get back into the service. He had injuries in the past and this may hamper his efforts. Briggs is asked to attend the funeral for a Ranger in another state, and take that person’s military dog to that location, possibly for putting down.  The dog, Lulu, was attached to the deceased Ranger and finds it difficult to be with anyone else. Also, who is an enemy and who is a friend? Much of the journey from Oregon,  with side trips, and the two in the same vehicle is played with humor. Just who is the Alpha Dog here, Lulu or Briggs? A certain friendship begins to develop and each starts to let their guard down on the journey. However, when they reach their destination, what to do next? If Lulu can’t behave, she will be put down. One instance is when Lulu sees someone in a robe. For her, this is an enemy from the Middle East, not a by-stander. Can a dog be trained for a different perception? 

Channing Tatum gives us a person who is flawed from his military occupation and doesn’t know what to do. He does this role well. Doctor’s offer advice, but it is the physical connection with a living creature that sometimes is better medicine.  The same for an animal, who is used to going into dangerous situations and guarding people, can there be a time to relax? Is there an off-switch for being alert all the time? 

The rest of the cast is there in person, but the main characters are the ones you want to see.  Being on the road (the dog doesn’t fly well) offers us scenery, too,  This film gives the audience another view of combat fatigue. You can go just so far without a break and then, what is the best “break?”  Outdoor recreation, writing in a journal, having pets, each person has their own way of dealing with this type of stress. Lulu is another way, she lived in action, the same as Briggs, and that is a strong connection. 

If wouldn’t hurt to have a handkerchief with you for this film. Pet owners will understand the decisions they face about an animal they have in their lives.  


Copyright 2022 Marie Asner