Sidewinder’s View: “Dog Eat Dog” (2016)

From 2016, this evening’s movie, a Crime-Comedy, directed by Paul Schrader, about a trio of ex-con armed robbers who get hired for a big-money score that goes wrong in all sorts of messy ways. Much bloody mayhem ensues.

I’m familiar with the author (Edward Bunker) of the book and with the director’s track record, so I took a chance…this is a Nicolas Cage movie, after all…and I really enjoyed it. Clever, suspenseful, insanely violent, frequently funny and very unpredictable…

…but, ultimately, quite depressing. I really liked it on this first viewing, but I’m not sure I’ll ever watch it again.

The actors were all great, especially Willem Dafoe, but the characters were such sociopathic losers, each one seemingly doomed from the start. Their misadventures were entertaining and nerve-wracking at the same time, but I wasn’t exactly rooting for them to succeed.

Not a film for all tastes, that’s for sure. Worth the Amazon rental, though.

The one critical blurb on this poster claims the movie’s the ‘best thing Schrader’s done in decades’. That’s true, but it also struck me as a back-handed compliment.

The trailer for the movie also credits Schrader, the director, for Rolling Thunder, one of my all-time favorite movies.

True, he wrote the original script, but it was rewritten significantly by a more commercially-minded screenwriter and Schrader’s disavowed the finished film (*). I imagine that seeing his name, once again, attached to Rolling Thunder, in order to promote his new movie, probably irritated him a bit.


(*) Schrader’s original script for Rolling Thunder was not nearly as good as the finished film and I’m glad it was rewritten.