I’ve already said that I’m a believer in Paul Schrader and that I think Affliction is a masterpiece and a better film hasn’t been made in the last 20 years.
I’ve haven’t written about Dog Eat Dog (2016) despite seeing it about a year ago. Let me say, straight off the bat, that this film is not for everyone. Yet, again I think it’s just shy of being a classic of its kind.
It’s a crime film, it’s a last job film – it’s Nic Cage (love him or loathe him) – it’s also a film about crime films, last jobs films and it plays around cleverly with the audience expectations – and if you read the reviews on the IMDb some members of the audience clearly don’t get it.
They don’t realise they just watched an art film (it’s a French New Wave picture – with Nic Cage).
But buyer beware – Schrader pushes the audience, all through the film, but no more so than in the opening and closing sequences.
Now, I have no fear of violence in films (or weirdness) – but even I had to squirm at the opening five or ten minutes of this film. I didn’t know where to turn at the opening sequence. I discussed the film with my wife and she watched the opening (and had no problems with it – she even found it funny). This set my mind at ease a little.
The end sequence – I loved it – but again I discussed this with my wife prior to her watching it – and she found the ending silly.
So, without giving away any spoilers, it’s clear that the film splits opinion. And I think Schrader designed it to do so… he’s a clever old cat, and even acts in this one, like its one last job.
Willem Defoe is fabulous – watch for the scene where he takes off his shoes…
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour