Todd Solondz's most moving work to date

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 04 Aug 2016
  • Wiener-Dog
Film title: Wiener-Dog
Director: Todd Solondz
Starring: Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Zosia Mamet, Kieran Culkin, Tracy Letts
Release date: 12 Aug
Certificate: 15

Todd Solondz has always been drawn to life’s underdogs, so making his protagonist a literal underdog was inevitable. In Wiener-Dog we meet four individuals at different stages in life, and through the eyes of the film's eponymous dachshund they each adopt, we see the how youthful optimism can harden into bitterness and regret over a lifetime. As ever with Solondz, the perspective is bleak, but it’s also sharply funny and skilfully constructed, with Ed Lachman’s precise cinematography even adding elegance to a trail of canine diarrhoea.

Solondz elicits terrific work from his eclectic ensemble – Julie Delpy and Tracy Letts are hilarious in the film’s first segment, while Danny DeVito and Ellen Burstyn bring a tangible sense of pain to their performances – but this is a film in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Wiener-Dog has an accumulative emotional power as it builds towards a remarkable climax. It is not only this director’s most accomplished film in years, but it might be his most profoundly moving work to date.

Released by Picturehouse Entertainment