Dog Eat Dog’s choice of hyper-stylized, overexposed cinematography is ultimately more concerned with creating a mood of jittery, hell-on-earth claustrophobia than it is with forcibly exoticizing its crime-stricken Colombian setting. As such, it bears only superficial comparisons to the aesthetic purposes of predecessors like The Last King of Scotland and City of God, but despite its more ennobled intentions, writer-director Carlos Moreno’s debut feature still smacks of disappointingly one-note, surface-bound meaning, only briefly wading through the quagmires of injustice and inhumanity when it would otherwise seem capable of diving straight into the unholy mess it presents to the viewer. The opening scene witnesses an interrogation gone wrong, as three small-time thugs accidentally suffocate the man they need to extract information from regarding a hidden pile of cash. Upon finding the money, one of the men decides to hide it for himself and report it unfound, thus setting into motion a chain of events that drives home with blisteringly simplistic redundancy the brutal, every-man-for-himself ugliness inherent in the film’s title. In purporting significance about human behavior at large, Moreno’s film misguidedly focuses on the personal drama of archetypal characters over the widespread social maladies that afflict them, an approach that renders its violent subject matter neither exploitative or insightful, but oddly stagnant, an effect helped in no small part by the awkward use of religious imagery as an added component of significance. Pointlessly provocative and noisy when it should be strife with contradictions and pontifications, the whole gnarly mess of it all suggests a streamlined version of the feral swell that is Matteo Garrone’s gangster epic Gomorrah.
- IFC Films
- 106 min
- Carlos Moreno
- Carlos Moreno, Alonso Torres
- Eusebio Benitez, Óscar Borda, Blas Jaramillo, Marlon Moreno, Victor Penaranda, Paulina Rivas, Álvaro Rodríguez
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