Cannes Film Festival: Dog Eat Dog

Director’s Fortnight
Dog Eat Dog
Directed by Paul Schrader
Starring Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe and Matthew Cook

by Joanna Orland

Once I realized that Dog Eat Dog director Paul Schrader is none other than THE Paul Schrader who directed The Canyons starring Lindsay Lohan, everything about this film made sense.

I was drawn to the screening of Dog Eat Dog as it was chosen as the closing film for the Director’s Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs), an independent section held in parallel with the main Cannes Film Festival.  I basically saw ‘closing film’, ‘Willem Dafoe’, ‘Nicolas Cage’ and that was enough to draw me in without any other knowledge of what was to come.

What was to come was a horrendous disaster of a film, even worse than The Canyons which is at least so trashy it can be enjoyed on the ‘so bad it’s good’ level.  Dog Eat Dog is just bad.  Appalling.  A B-Movie without the good sort of trashiness, merely gratuitous violence and nonsensical plot.  Even Nicolas Cage attending the screening in person could not salvage this viewing.

Nicolas Cage plays one of the three main characters, a thug as part of a gang whose members have all been recently released from jail and who continue to commit crime in order to survive, or maybe just because they love it.  I’m not quite sure.  Willem Dafoe plays the crazy one with a name as subtle as “Mad Dog”.  He’s going full Begbie on this one, so in case Robert Carlyle pulls out of the Trainspotting sequel, we seem to have a decent replacement.  I hope Dafoe’s Scottish accent is as on par as the rest of his impersonation.  The third in the trio of thugs is not even worth mentioning.

I didn’t realize things have become so bad for Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe for them to appear in a Schrader film following his last, but perhaps they didn’t bother watching The Canyons – not many people did.


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