3 minute read
22 Feb 2022
9:17 am

Not your average road trip movie


'Dog' is a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime.

Picture: Supplied

Dog is a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) buckle into a 1984 Ford Bronco and race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they drive each other completely crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to let down their guards in order to have a fighting chance of finding happiness.

Ask Channing Tatum what Dog is about and he’ll tell you it’s about a road trip that a guy takes with a dog. But, it’s so much more than that. For Tatum, it’s his directorial debut and he stars in it. But more than all of that, it’s a movie about the uncanny ability of road trips to go awry in the craziest possible ways and how animals can be healing, even when relationships with them aren’t unconditionally effortless. So perhaps, it is that easy to describe it— a road trip that a guy takes with a dog — in the end, they rescue each other.

 This dog in particular, is a war hero, who worked with her handler Riley Rodriguez — who served in the Army Rangers with Jackson Briggs (Tatum) — for many years. Sadly, Rodriguez has passed, and it’s up to Briggs to pack this dog into his ’84 Bronco and drive her down the Pacific Coast to Rodriguez’s family in time for the funeral in Arizona. Briggs, however, has no interest in this trip — after a traumatic brain injury, his interest lies in getting back to active duty. The only way to make that happen? To do his C.O. a solid and get Lulu to the funeral on time.

The inspiration for the movie

For Tatum and Carolin, the inspiration for this movie came from a very real place – a documentary the pair produced for HBO called War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend. They were fortunate to get to know many in the Army Rangers community who work in the Special Operations with their dogs. And while several movies about the military have focused on action and combat, they realized there were many more stories to tell.

 “The Rangers do very specialized things, so they have these walls up, but a dog can come in to the room and turn hardened soldiers into these puppy dog sort of loving guys,” says Tatum, who during a particularly tough time in his life, lost his longtime best friend, his dog Lulu. “So, we went through a bunch of different machinations of how to tell that story: What is that bond between a human and a dog?”

 For their directorial debut, the pair wanted to choose something that was particularly meaningful to both of them.  “When we connected all the dots of these experiences we’ve had in life, everything pointed us toward making a road movie. So, we decided to set this movie on that type of canvas in hopes of bringing people into this world of Special Operations soldiers and their dogs, that’s very insular,” Carolin says. “Road movies are our favorite kinds of movies. Mostly because they’re full of heart and humor.”

For Tatum, being around dogs comes naturally, so it was tough for him to pretend he couldn’t connect with one. “There’s a certain irony in bonding with an animal just so you can both act like you’re not bonded.” See this charming buddy comedy only in cinemas from 25 February.