Review: A Dog’s Death (CUFF 2020)

Title: A Dog’s Death
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Matias Ganz
Starring: Guillermo Arengo, Laura Baez, Pelusa Vidal
Runtime: 1 hr 20 mins

What It Is: Mario (Arengo) is a veterinarian who’s doggy patient suddenly finds itself dead (without natural reason), causing a social media uproar against his practices when he has the body prematurely cremated. His quiet and intimidating wife Silvia (Vidal) suspects the local beggars and their housemaid of some sort of suspicious activity. The middle-aged couple suddenly finds themselves in a pit of paranoia as they attempt in protecting themselves from unknown forces.

What We Think: The concept is glorious: an upper-middle-class, retirement-age couple set off an unfortunate series of events that reveal their shortcomings due to a lack of remorse for those of different classes or otherwise and see the karma from it. What was contrived was what felt like a sort of biting, almost satirical, and very quiet unfolding of their paranoia in an attempt at dark comedy. It’s a slow tale, and more, unfortunately, a dreary one. Though the technical elements are there, they are all composited into delivery so dry, I didn’t find myself watching anymore. If not that, I felt like I was being lulled into a comfortable and lazy stare at a screen showing me a couple of people staring off into the distance at a time. It was too, too, too slow, with plot events happening at extremely dispersed points in the film; by the time anything of interest that wasn’t set up for the plot was happening, the film was more than halfway over. It was a long one hour and twenty minutes of watching bland, unentertaining characters in a nonsensical crisis. It should work, but in this case, it doesn’t, at least for me.

Our Grade: D, I can’t recommend this to anyone I know; more importantly, I never want to watch this again. It wasn’t a bad film nor a horrible experience, but nothing was really offered to me nor deliciously went over my head. What it was about was obvious, and there was nothing really past that. I tried leaning into whatever intensity there was supposed to be (the score was really pushing it), I tried leaning into the bone-dry humor bouncing around the circumstances but it just couldn’t work. If anything, this was something to put in the background while falling sleep (to put it meanly). In the end, one of the worst movie experiences you can have is one that is empty, and while this was not quite that, it was coming dangerously close. I have little to say about it other than it was boring. The characters, the plot, the visuals (minus the scenes with the dogs…) all came up to nothing other than what the movie was simply about. Though undeniably well-made, the only exciting drama there is to this is its catchy title.

Author: Chai Simone