Rex (2017) * * | DVD

March 5th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Gabriela Cowperthwaite | Cast: Kate Mara, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Bradley Witford, Edie Falco | US Biopic Drama | 116′

Gabriela Cowperthwaite is best known for her impressive documentaries features Blackfish (2014) and City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story (2010) but her debut drama teeters between mawkish melodrama and war docudrama, barking up the wrong tree in creating a fitting tribute to Rex and many other brave animals who have served us during wartime. Even committed dog lovers will find it difficult to sympathetise with her efforts to channel a woman’s existential angst and emotional breakdown into the story of a fearless, committed and intelligent canine who saw active service as her military combat dog in the American Forces during the Iraq war. Cowperthwaite’s documentary experience really shines during the stunning combat scenes on location, but once Leavey returns home the sentimentality sets in and the result is frankly trivial and unconvincing. A superb cast is headed by Kate Mara who does her best as Ms Leavey in a difficult role that actually puts the dog in the invidious position of having to share its deserved tribute as a soldier rather than a domestic companion with the brilliant but clearly troubled Marine corporal Megan Leavey. MT


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