13th Feb2019

‘A Dog’s Way Home’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Chris Bauer, Barry Watson, Motell Gyn Foster, Wes Studi, John Cassini, Brian Markinson, Patrick Gallagher, Broadus Mattison, Rolando Boyce, Cesar De León, Arielle Tuliao | Written by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon | Directed by Charles Martin Smith

dogs-way-home-poster

As a puppy, Bella finds her way into the arms of Lucas, a young man who gives her a good home. When Bella becomes separated from Lucas, she soon finds herself on an epic 400-mile journey to reunite with her beloved owner. Along the way, the lost but spirited dog touches the lives of an orphaned mountain lion, a down-on-his-luck veteran and some friendly strangers who happen to cross her path.

Charles Martin Smith’s A Dog’s Way Home will forever be immortalised or tainted in the joy of unironic humour with a bizarrely inept trailer that gave the whole film away in under two minutes. Extraordinarily made the more bizarre is the fact the film is edited in the exact same manner of narrative than what is in the trailer, yet with different footage from the film to showcase the same conventional beats. Why on earth that decision was made is odd, to say the least.

However, at its core, A Dog’s Way Home is ultimately an endearing and slightly delightful at times schmaltzy feature that just about survives the guillotine from direct-to-DVD legacy with a sizeable budget. The only real reasoning for this not to have been left to rot on supermarket shelves for the next decade and be afforded a cinematic release lies in the fact that Sony needed to have recouped their budget back with the heavy use of CGI in sequences that are both ridiculous and blurry. That’s as simple and straight forward as it is.

Therefore, ultimately this feature by all accounts should never have received a cinematic release. But it has and did, so here we are. There are positives in an otherwise saturated conventional tale. The heavy inclusion and awareness of the difficulties and plights of the forgotten in both veterans and the homelessness are ferociously resonating and poignant. Incorporated with utter grace and tender luminous approach with incredibly mature sophisticated themes. The emotional crux derives from such inclusion of an often-neglected aspect of daily life in the US that goes neglected by the masses.

The constant voice-over is slightly overwhelming, even for those directly attributed to the target audience. Somewhat patronising and condescending but undoubtedly easy listening from Bryce Dallas Howard, who injects wonderful charisma into what is otherwise a simplistic voice over. Yet the biggest boast A Dog’s Way Home entails is perhaps the greatest unironic edit since the majestic bone to space ship sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey. No joke

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