Director: Esteban Herek | Screenplay: Nick Santora | Cast: Johnny Berchtold (Fielding Marshall), Rob Lowe (John Marshall), Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Ginny Marshall), Nick Comb (Nate), ea | Time to play: 95 minutes | Year: 2023
You can’t hurt a dog owner more than suggesting they buy a new one immediately after their four-legged friend dies. If you don’t have a dog, you don’t know what it’s like to lose your faithful pet. The bond between humans and pets is not as strong in any animal as it is in the dog. Movie dogs tend to behave much more exemplary than the pooch you have at home.
That bond between man and dog is central to the sweetened Netflix production based on real events. dog gone. Whether the writer understands dogs remains to be seen. Every dog owner knows that he should leave a frightened dog alone, like in a scene where the animal crawls under the bed during a thunderstorm. But surprisingly, leading man Rob Lowe doesn’t get a snapshot if he doesn’t.
Lowe plays the successful businessman John Marshall. John and his wife Ginny are saddled with his son Fielding, who returns to his parents’ house after graduation. With his new best friend, the labrador retriever Gonker. During his college years, Fielding took the dog out of the shelter to forget about his broken relationship. Before long, the duo became inseparable.
John and Ginny obviously have to get used to their new roommate with a runny nose. Also, they certainly don’t see how their beloved son can take responsibility for Gonker. John would like Fielding to do something with his life instead of being left aimlessly.
The somewhat rocky relationship between father and son goes badly wrong, and before it’s even clear how their relationship works, fate strikes. During a walk, Gonker gets lost. This tragic event requires a preparation of no less than half an hour, which is quite a lot of time in a duration of barely an hour and a half. We learned at that moment that Gonker is suffering from a life-threatening disease, so we must find him quickly.
The remaining hour revolves entirely around the search for Gonker. Everyone helps, because he is a dog. Even the toughest member of a motorcycle gang gets weak in the knees at the thought of his four-legged friend. The media dive into the story coordinated from the ground up by mother Ginny as Fielding and John conduct the actual search in Appalachia.
If, like the undersigned, you are a proud and happy dog owner, then you must be stoned not to feel anything for a lost dog. However, screenwriter Nick Santora adds plenty of melodrama and bland sentiment. With that, he soon ends up in Hallmark territory. Fielding’s mother’s many flashbacks to the dog she had when she was a child are also too much.
dog gone it strikes sensitive chords at times, but then unabashedly soars into the absurdly high feel-good content. Also, the seemingly difficult father-son relationship turns out to be quite easy to restore. In this sick family movie, they just needed a joint mission for a while.
dog gone can be seen in Netflix.