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Waldo The Dog (2010)

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Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama
A guilt and shame ridden mentally unstable young man wears a dog mask in order to cope. --IMDb
Director:
Kris Canonizado Kris Canonizado
Starring:
Rook Kelly Rook Kelly
Jaquelyn Xavier Jaquelyn Xavier
Dave Mora Dave Mora
Tommy Wilson Tommy Wilson

7.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Ginose
Added: April 23, 2011
I've always felt that there are only a few types of independent film that I've noticed over the years, and amongst these, most prominently, are the ones that felt they were made with a lot of heart and zeal; a film made through the love of film by the people who love film and are willing to work harder than they ever have to see their vision before the masses. Then there are the films that were designed to launch careers. These films are normally fairly competent, but they lack any real emotion or feeling of drive. There's no true investment in the film because there's no reason to want it made.

I'm... not really sure where tonight's film lands itself.

There's not much to reveal as far as the plot is concerned, but it's a simple story of a man, no origin that we can determine, but, some years in the future, is responsible for some rather brutal actions. We're stuck in his place as a vagrant wearing a simple dog-mask to conceal his identity. Like many homeless and the type, he is constantly insulted, abused and mistreated by the general populace. With the exception of a surprise act of kindness in his life nothing seems to ever work out for him; there are very few things he seems content with: his expensive and demanding training to become a professional wrestler and his assumed stalking of a young woman. This... in its presentation this seems completely innocent, until one night when she is assaulted on her way home from work and this young-man shows his purest intentions (or at least honest ones) by brutalizing her attackers. Upon regaining her consciousness she comes to meet the vagrant, doing her best to relate with him, hopefully giving him the kinship he so deserves.

From this point on the movie shows a lot of changes in pace and presentation, mostly by introducing the woman's character more clearly into the plot; it dices around a bit with a rough imbalance in tone, constantly juxtaposing the rough life of the homeless and his time in grace with the girl. I can't say this works flawlessly, but it makes for a fun approach to the story, keeping the characters and interactions interesting throughout, and giving plenty of time to build into it's finale, which is... not exactly unexpected, but still amazingly jarring.

For its share of balance issues in plot, it certainly manages to do the same with performances. Most of the movie is shot completely guerrilla and uses casual passer-bys on the street to add to the bulk of the film, this provides a lot of insight, but all the improvisation from non-actors also fills the movie with a fucking PLETHORA of unneeded dialogue and sequences. It certainly doesn't mean it's all uninteresting, but a lot is completely unnecessary. The lead actress and actor both bring a sense of realism to their characters, and I suppose nothing can really replace that, but realistic and believable aren't necessarily the same thing...

A lot of discussions and actions are just ridiculous and are used to fill up the runtime, but I never felt bored, just cheated out of a lot more relevant character-development at times... of which there is essentially none. We see them grow together, but the shifts in thinking and personality make no real changes (well, I suppose "Waldo's" does, but it's mostly him coming to terms with a few things) that we see happen.

In the end, it was a fairly enjoyable film, if not a little redundant. The story seemed fairly inspired, at first, but by the time the movie comes together I don't quite feel like it accomplished anything. Sure it was entertaining, but it could have been even more than that. Do I think it had to be something substantial? Not really, but in the end it almost felt like a lot of effort was wasted making it last as long as it did with little payoff.

Presumably there's a sequel in the works and, on the note that this one leaves off on, I can say that I am definitely looking forward to it.

7.3/10.
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