Sundance London 2016 – Wiener-Dog (2016)

Wiener-Dog is about a female Daschund, as it travels from home to home, ranging from inexperienced yet doting boy Remi and his short-tempered parents (Tracey Letts and Julie Delpy) to a blind and resentful elderly woman (Ellen Burstyn).
Given that this film revolves around a dog, it is hard to see that from the offset.  If anything, the daschund serves as a supporting star to the dysfunctional and troubled characters it comes cross, leaving its role in the feature in limbo.
The narrative is also confusing – thanks to a strange intermission, there is no assumption by director/screenwriter Todd Solondz or the characters featured that this is the same dog passed between the characters; the audience is left to their own devices and the lack of a bridge between the first and seconds halves of the feature unnecessarily splits the story.
However, the dog’s chain of owners shine a light on the twisted lives of various social classes.   All emotionally detached, there is a general lack of contentment that borders on cynicism and it casts a bleak light on real life, to the point that some are driven to incredulity to make a point.  At the end of the day, Solondz puts all the charm and sweetness of the Wiener-Dog on this Daschund, but it is too much of a burden to fill up the 90 minute running time.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Julie Delpy, Greta Gurwig, Tracey Letts, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Kieran Culkin
Runtime: 90 minutes
Country: USA

Film Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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