Complete A-Z list

Dog Eat Dog


Stars: Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Matthew Cook, Louisa Krause, Omar Dorsey, Melissa Bolona, Rey Gallegos, Chelcie Melton, Paul Schrader

Director: Paul Schrader

Somewhat bizarrely, cult filmmaker Schrader, celebrated for such classic screenplays as Taxi Driver, American Gigolo and Raging Bull, handed over screenwriting duties for this embarrassing misfire to Matthew Wilder whose adaptation of Edward Bunker’s 1955 novel contributes strongly to what must surely be Schrader’s worst movie and, possibly, one of the most humiliating films of 2016.

Give Schrader his due, though.

He managed to persuade Cage and Dafoe to star as former-convicts who, after long time terms in jail and largely failing to adapt to civilian life, are – along with podgy fellow criminal Cook – persuaded by a weird mob boss who offers them a small fortune, to kidnap the baby of the crooked colleague who is stealing from him…

Cue a mishmash of blood, bullets and banality spiced with enough Channel 4-letter words to qualify for some sort of (who cares?) expletive record and a movie which, apart from presumably, desperate Schrader completists, would be best enjoyed by missing it completely.

So what of the dogs, mad or otherwise.

Cage gives his overdone all and then some, Dafoe is truly awful, especially in the bloody overdone sequence when he kills an massively overweight woman and then shoots another large lady in a scene which, while establishing him as a loony loose cannon, is simply gore-soaked and unpleasant…

Given the less-than-memorable key performances, it makes some kind of inexplicable sense that (after, reportedly, trying it on with Michael Wincott, Michael Douglas, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum and Rupert Everett and rightly receiving no go-aheads) Schrader cast himself as the weird Greek crime boss and, even more strangely, allowed himself to get away with a truly awful characterization that, strangely, might win him an award – a Razzie perhaps?

If ever a movie mongrel like this misfit cried out to be credited to Alan Smithee, this one does; except that even Smithee might sue to get his name off the credits - and he'd be right to do so.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Signature Entertainment. Colour.
93 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 3, Swearing 3.

Review date: 18 Nov 2016