Film Review: Wiener-Dog

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DIRECTOR: Todd Solondz STARRING: Greta Gerwig, Keaton Nigel Cooke, Tracy Letts, Julie Delpy, Kieran Culkin, Rigoberto Garcia, Haraldo Alvarez, Dain Victorianio, Connor Long, Bridget Brown, Charlie Tahan, Danny DeVito, Tyler Maynard USA 2016

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Wiener-Dog is a film by Todd Solondz told in vignettes featuring the director’s unique ability to combine comedy and despair.

We are following four different, successive stories which appear to have one common link, the cute dachshund puppy which somehow goes from one eccentric owner to the next. Despite not having anything more in common, all of the film characters seem to somehow project their own yearnings and hopes on the dog while they fight their own demons.

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Many might argue that in this film Solondz takes his misanthropy a bit too far and shows little compassion towards what his characters are going through, however his cynical and no-frills approach is one of the most anthropocentric ways to approach tragedy and mortality. There are many avenues a writer/director can choose to explore in order to deal with pain and devastation and here Solondz chooses to utilise sharp dialogue, black humour and stellar performances by Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Burstyn and Zosia Mamet.

Wiener-Dog will bring a bitter smile to your lips and as Ellen Burstyn said during one of her interviews about the film you will realise that it’s ridiculous to be that hopeless. And that perhaps is the most humanistic way to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Words by Anastasia Psarra
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