Monday, December 11, 2023


Dog Gone

(from L to R: Alex Warren, me, Jamie Granato, Nick Pinkerton)

Al Warren's follow-up to his underseen but splendid first feature, Sequence: Four Short Stories [2014], Dogleg [2023] (also co-written by the novelist Michael Bible) is the kind of film that is either a breakthrough in and of itself, or the augury of a next work that will signal a widespread breakthrough. (See, as recent examples, Kris Borgli's Sick of Myself to Dream Scenario, or the Safdies' Heaven Knows What to Good Time.)

With the premise: "the family dog of 30-something new parents goes missing the day the wife leaves for travel, and Warren (who also stars) stresses out on a search to find her," the filmmaker devises for his fractured comedy all kinds of set-pieces, of vignettes — some taken from the main character's ( / Warren's) film-in-the-works, some hanging self-contained and absurd. One of Dogleg's final-act culminations takes place on a set where our man the director has a total nervous breakdown, and this seems to snap the dream-state-of-consciousness that characterizes the bulk of the film.

The end sequence at the backyard party (from which the above image is a frame) plays like a dance of relief, the come-down before a return to some sense of 'normalcy.' With its acute examination of the '20s family way (an entire text on which could be written), Dogleg is the present-day thirtysomething; no — wait. Dogleg is the present-day's dirtysomething.


Other writing on Cinemparagus on the films of Al Warren:


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