Violent, grotesque, mean-spirited, misogynistic, and really damn funny, Paul Schrader's Dog Eat Dog is a punch to the gut, a film that shows little to no regard for political correctness, delivering a grim, psychotic crime story about three lowlifes who have all just been released from prison. Back on the streets, the three men become seduced with the allure of one big score, once again leading them down a path that finds them in an all familiar place- at odds with society's desire for law and order. Dog Eat Dog is film that is best described as a journey to hell, a film which features absolutely no well-meaning characters throughout its narrative, as it follows the deplorable exploits of Tory, Diesel, and Mad Dog, three men whose propensity for drugs, violence, and the quick score, lead them into a constant cycle of violence and death. Dog Eat Dog is the type of film that doesn't apologize for its deplorable nature, being a film which finds Paul Schrader uninterested in the typical structure and ethos of the crime story, opting instead to simply unleash lead actors in Nicholas Cage & William Dafoe, who each deliver truly memorable performances as these two despicable men. William Dafoe particularly stands out as Mad Dog, an emotionally unstable character whose disregard for human life makes him both terrifying and highly entertaining. The comedy aspect of Dog Eat Dog is where the film really soars, routinely finding the humor in such insanity and violence, even subverting the viewers expectations at times. When the characters in Dog Eat Dog show a shred of decency or morality it is borderline subversive, leading to a few hilarious moments in which these despicable characters, at least for a second, question their heinous actions. Paul Schrader shows much more interesting in mood and tone than structure or narrative with Dog Eat Dog, a film that simply rejects traditional storytelling, with its narrative masking the unhinged nature of its characters. To say the film doesn't have a point would be misleading, as Dog Eat Dog encapsulates its characters, being a film that simply screams- I don't know why I'm doing what I'm doing, but to-bad, I want to do it this way. Featuring memorable performances all around, Paul Schrader's Dog Eat Dog is a ridiculous, enjoyable, despicable crime story that is sure to become a cult film in the years to come.
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