I have seen a number of independent films and have thoroughly enjoyed the majority of them. Unfortunately, Wiener-Dog does not fall under that category. Due to its unique form, style and storytelling, it just wasn’t for me. But there were key elements that I still enjoyed.
Wiener-Dog stars an adorable dachshund puppy that goes through a multitude of different owners. Each owner having their own sets of quirks makes for one unique movie-viewing experience. The film begins with a young boy who gets a dachshund that’ll hopefully cheer him up. Coming from a well-off family and parents who are busy all the time, the dad believes the dog can do his child some good. But due to some health complications, the dachshund is sent back to the pound only to receive some bad news that the dog will have to be put to rest. Saved by the nurse, the dog is put back into proper health and care and joins her on a road trip. With bumps in the road (and an awkward intermission), the dog is later seen in the care of a screenwriter and lastly, a bitter elderly woman.
Todd Solondz’s film is not for everyone. It’s dark and thought-provoking and yet despite what happens on-screen, you can’t help but keep watching. Throughout the film, the dachshund goes through a variety of owners, each owner possessing a certain quality of flaws and imperfections that makes each of them distinct from one another. With strapped in explosions, a random road trip and lastly living with an elderly woman, there’s tons going on. Wiener-Dog drags but catches your attention with dark and twisted humor. At face value, I initially thought it was going to be an adorable film about a dachshund puppy that goes on an adventure (if you’re looking for that kind of experience, go see The Secret Life of Pets instead).
Overall, the film was a bit tired and dragged out. Without scenes in the middle of the film and sub plots that were scattered and underdeveloped, I think the movie could have been a little more concise. Wiener-Dog addressed the dark and unavoidable fate of death and how it can come unexpectedly with a handful of scenes that were morbid and left the viewer confused about how it contributed to the overall film. What I thought was going to be an adorable film about dogs and our close and loving relationship to our canine companion, turned out to be totally different and much stranger.