Dog Gone 2023 Movie Review
Fielding ( Johnny Berchtold ) doesn’t really know what to do with his life, much to the annoyance of his parents, Ginny ( Kimberly Williams-Paisley ) and John ( Rob Lowe ). His father in particular is very dissatisfied with his son’s aimlessness, which repeatedly leads to conflicts between the two of them. Fielding has no professional prospects. He only has eyes for his dog Gonker, the young man’s best friend. When he chases after a fox one day and doesn’t come back, Fielding’s world collapses. What should he do without Gonker? Ginny and John then pull out all the stops and start a large-scale search operation that soon makes waves across the country…
It’s no secret that people and dogs often develop a very special relationship. It is not without reason that the four-legged friend is popularly referred to as man’s best friend. Filmmakers are of course also aware of this, which is why there are a whole series of works that draw on just this emotionality. Whether it’s the animal reincarnation in Bailey , the children’s book adaptation Belle & Sebastian, or the homecoming odyssey The Incredible Adventures of Bella , such films are hugely popular. With the Netflix film Dog Gonethere is now a replenishment in the sense that friends of the dog will get bright eyes – and watery ones at that.
In a way, the film is the counterpart to The Incredible Adventures of Bella . When he talked about how a little bitch covered more than 600 kilometers to find his human family again, it focuses Dog Gone focuseson the family. Gonker himself only appears at the beginning and end. Much of the drama is nothing to see from the animal – the various missing posters left out. Those who primarily want to see cute animal pictures can easily do something else for an hour in between. Go for a walk, for example. But that doesn’t mean that nothing happens during that time. On the one hand, there is the search itself, which is becoming ever larger. The world as described in the film is full of supportive people, all eager to help bring family and dogs back together.
But in other respects, too, the adaptation of the book Desperate Dog: The True Story of a Family Searching for Their Best Friend by Pauls Toutonghi has a great feel-good factor. The search for Gonker unites father and son. During their joint ventures they get closer again, the years of conflict between the doer father and the seeker son can finally be overcome. They don’t even have to do much for that. It’s enough in Dog Gonethat John meets other young people along the way. They don’t say anything different than Fielding, but they have an effect. It’s not really clear why. Just as the film generally reluctantly puts in work and doesn’t even try to discover its own depth behind the calendar sayings.
Of course you can like that. Especially in times of great uncertainty and constant crises, the film is like a caress for the soul when everything goes well after the great drama. It’s just completely unabashedly cheesy and manipulative. But even before that there is one or the other passage that is not very convincing. As long as Dog Goneconcentrating on the quest itself and telling of the numerous encounters that want to help with the quest, it’s all nice and touching. Scenes like a dicey encounter in a bar, on the other hand, are completely superfluous and a too obvious attempt to create suspense in between. The same applies to the sideline when Fielding suddenly has a serious illness and the audience is supposed to be forced to feel in a particularly clumsy way. Not to mention the grotesque flashback to an old trauma from Ginny. As stunning as Gonker is: In terms of content, the film was not very successful in his search.