If you can get through the overly directed, trippy and grim opening ten minutes of Dog Eat Dog then there are small pleasures ahead. Nicholas Cage and scripter/director Paul Schrader have teamed again for this crime thriller that is decidedly off-beat and wholly unpredictable. Seemingly influenced from European new wave maestros, Schrader has produced a film that is vibrant, vile, singular, and often times compulsively watchable.
Troy (Nicholas Cage), Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe) and Diesel (Christopher Michael Cook) are a three-man criminal crew who get involved with a scheme to abduct an infant for ransom. Recently paroled Troy decides to take the job at the advice of his mentor, a wealthy underworld figure known as “The Greek” (Paul Schrader), compromising his instinct that tell him the situation is destined to fail. The pack of men agree to go for the big payday, but if capture awaits then group suicide is the plan.
I can’t recommend that anyone willingly view Dog Eat Dog without at least some knowledge of the films that Schrader writes and sometimes directs. Often times he showcases unpleasant people doing vile things for no logical reason, but his films are rarely boring and in the best cases they excel in finding dark humor in odd moments. Dog Eat Dog is definitely not for general audiences flipping through Netflix, though that’s how its being presented, it’ll be most appreciated by film buffs. And those curious of the results that the freedom of modern independent cinema has once again given to the movie mavericks of the 1970’s.
Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Matthew Cook