Directed by Todd Solondz
12th – 18th August 2016
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
The director of this film, Todd Solondz, has been described as a ‘miserabilist’ by some critics and, after viewing Wiener-Dog, I can understand why. I think the term bleak comedy aptly applies.
The prevailing theme is about our mortality and that we are all going to die.
Misanthropy is also in abundance with very few hints of affection between any of the characters involved.
The main source of loving feelings are directed towards the brown dachshund bitch (Wiener-Dog), who ends up having four separate owners, through many varied and sometimes peculiar reasons.
The thought occurred to me that the way they all treated the animal is the way they are, good and bad. In the first of the four segments the mother of her son Remi, who dotes on Wiener-Dog, told him that ‘she is just a dog.’
The acting throughout is of the highest order, with notable performances by Danny DeVito, playing Dave Schmerz, a film professor past his sell-by -date, Greta Gerwig as Dawn, a veterinarian’s assistant, who rescues the dog from being put to sleep, and Ellen Burstyn as Nana, an elderly blind bitter character.
One of the stand out scenes involves her seeing a series of visions of her when she was a child, indicating the different directions she could have taken in life.
I would rather not mention what happened to the dog in the closing moments…