Paul Schrader’s latest crime drama film is a mess – despite some stylish moments.
There is no doubting the brutal nature of this film that has moments when you can’t take your eyes off the screen, but at the same time feels as though it is meandering aimlessly that it is hard to concentrate properly.
Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Matthew-Cook star as three criminals hired by a Cleveland mafioso to kidnap the baby of a rival mobster. These three characters, judging by the underlying tension throughout don’t particularly like each other’s company but seem to work well together – each as selfish and corrupt as each other.
Directed by Paul Schrader, there are some cool and stylish moments – particularly during the drug hallucinations that the characters experience are literally mesmerising to watch. but unfortunately the plot is so flimsy and the characters are so unlikeable that it is difficult to concentrate.
But there are some strong performances to if not enjoy then at least appreciate. Willem Dafoe as Mad Dog is particularly brutal and on edge with his emotions, that even watching him through a screen has the audience unsure of when he is going to explode next – the opening scene in which he brutally murders his girlfriend and her daughter is absolutely horrific and graphic.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Cage as Troy is calm, collected and ruthless in his attitude towards people and being back on the outside. He takes control of situations with ease and is an effective person to lead the way.
Out of them all though, Christopher Matthew-Cook as Diesel is perhaps the one who is the “softest”, but yet he is probably also the one who is struggling the most with adjusting to life outside of prison. It is the part with the most contrasts and perhaps the most interesting out of them all.
Sleazy, frantic and confusing Dog Eat Dog will have an audience but this audience member found it difficult to enjoy or even appreciate due to its over the top nature but directionless plot.
Dog Eat Dog is released in cinemas on the 18th November.