For Reel

Wiener-Dog (2016)
September 4, 2016, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Todd Solondz
2.5 Stars
Wiener-DogThe films of Todd Solondz often unite disparate story threads between characters who are desperately perverse, misanthropic, and otherwise dysfunctional. On paper, then, Wiener-Dog seems like the perfect distillation of his themes, referencing Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar by including a dachshund who bears witness and suffers as a result of man’s sins. But Solondz’s retreat back to suburban homes where characters speak with an alarming bluntness is feeling beyond stale at this point, particularly because the hypocrisies he targets have been thoroughly skewered by both himself and those who’ve taken inspiration from his films. When the dachshund is passed on to a couple with down syndrome, one can’t help but cringe at where the story is going—not because their disorder is uncomfortable to witness, but because Solondz’s continued aping on his image of a provocateur suggests it’s done as a sort of perverse joke. Thankfully the sequence plays out with a relative dignity, a mercy not given to the mariachi band that appears shortly thereafter. The highpoint is the very last scene wherein an elderly woman is confronted by a deluge of creepy children who represent her regrets—Solondz’s adults have so relentlessly tormented children in his films that it’s refreshing to see the children bite back with the same beaten nihilism—but the film mostly plays as a poorly rehearsed cover song.

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