October 26, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Dog Eat Dog (2008)

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Dog Eat Dog

Today's movie: Dog Eat Dog, 2008 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is literally one of those random titles I read about every Sunday, when Netflix releases their "newest DVDs" list, that seemed just randomly good enough to add to my queue, a crowd-pleasing Tarantino-style crime thriller that was a big hit among the Latino film festivals that year, a production so small that it's not even listed at Wikipedia yet one of the biggest hits in the entire history of Colombia, a country not exactly known for its bustling film industry.

The reality: Not too bad! For although this simple noir is for better or for worse clearly a case of style over substance, it does highlight something fascinating about our current times, how the quick rise in sophistication for high-end consumer DV equipment is profoundly changing the entire nature of world cinema. The fact is that this was shot guerrilla-style on the streets of Cali, that nation's second-largest city, on a miniscule budget and relying not on a particularly smart script for its success, but rather our universal love for the international language of cartoonish violence; but instead of any of this showing up cheaply on-screen afterwards, the final film is instead sharp and slick, a virtual reproduction of a Hollywood B-flick because of it literally being shot with the same level of equipment. Now, you may laugh at the idea of a filmmaker's big goal being to replicate the look and feel of a slightly dumb Hollywood B-flick; but for a country where only a handful of feature films even get made each year, among a team that's essentially one step above a bunch of buddies all working out of someone's garage, this attainment of Hollywood slickness is nearly a miracle, enough to get a Colombian film into last year's Sundance for one of the first times in the nation's history, and enough to make it that country's official entry into last year's Oscars. That alone is worth celebrating, even if the film itself is no more than a typical piece of Friday-night fluffy multiplex entertainment.

Worth your time? Yes

Filed by Jason Pettus at 9:57 AM, October 26, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |