In Dog Gone, Fielding Marshall is an American student in his final year of college. But, unlike many of his friends, Fielding lacks a bit of direction and hasn’t figured out what he wants to do with his life once he graduates.
Rather than worry too much about the future, Fielding concentrates on the here and now and on a spur of the moment decision, heads to the nearest dog pound to pick out a dog. This dog – which he later names Gonker – soon becomes his best friend, and the two become inseparable.
A year later, once graduation day has come and gone, Fielding returns home to live with his parents, bringing Gonker along too. At first, Fielding’s parents are not big fans of Gonker, believing their son has taken on a responsibility he will be unable to handle, but over time they soften and come to love the dog.
But one day, while Fielding is taking Gonker for a walk in the woods, the dog chases after a fox and runs off amongst the trees. Fielding isn’t too worried about this, as Gonker has done this many times before and always returns.
However, on this occasion Gonker doesn’t return, which causes Fielding and his family to worry. To make matters worse, Gonker suffers from a severe health condition which requires medication, and unless he returns within the next 20 days he could fall into a coma and die.
Desperate to find his lost friend, Fielding and his dad set out in search of Gonker, while Fielding’s mum remains at home to produce flyers and online posts about the missing mutt. Working together, their goal is to find Gonker and bring home, before it is too late.
Directed by Stephen Herek, and based on a true story, as well as a book by Pauls Toutonghi, Dog Gone stars Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Johnny Berchtold. The movie is a family drama about a search for a dog, and is available to stream on Netflix from today.
Dog Gone is a little twee in places, is not particularly taxing, and it travels a fairly familiar road. However, it is a likeable movie which has its heart in the right place, it touches upon themes of loss, responsibility, and fractured relationships, and is perfectly enjoyable stuff for audiences of pretty much any age.
The film won’t win any major awards for originality, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a decent story to tell. While the overriding arc of the picture is about the search for Gonker, the film does look at the relationship between Fielding and his father, who become the central figures in the story, and this adds something to the picture.
Dog Gone also includes a subplot about a hidden illness, as well as another subplot about a past trauma. The film is loaded with plenty of useful information for dog owners too, which could come in handy if ever they encounter a similar situation, and of course its biggest selling point is the dog itself, which is fluffy and cute.
Sure, Dog Gone isn’t going to be for everyone, but it is harmless stuff that anyone can dive into. A couple of scenes are likely to tug on the heartstrings, while a few moments here and there will raise a smile, but the peril is mild and it isn’t going to leave anyone traumatised for life.
This may not be up there with the likes of K-9 (1989), Turner & Hooch (1989), Beethoven (1992), or Dog (2022), but Dog Gone is a likeable picture. If you want some easy-viewing over the weekend, and you happen to adore dogs, then Dog Gone should see you right.
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