Movie Review: Megan Leavey Lavishes Love on the Bond of a Marine and Her Bomb-Sniffing Dog but Gives Short Shrift to Everything Else | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Monday, June 12, 2017

Movie Review: Megan Leavey Lavishes Love on the Bond of a Marine and Her Bomb-Sniffing Dog but Gives Short Shrift to Everything Else

Posted by Google on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 1:19 PM

click to enlarge Kate Mara as Megan Leavey - PHOTO BY JACOB YAKOB/COURTESY OF BLEECKER STREET
  • photo by Jacob Yakob/courtesy of Bleecker Street
  • Kate Mara as Megan Leavey
Megan Leavey
★★★
Now playing


Yeah, Megan Leavey feels like a fugitive from the Lifetime channel. But, with a singleminded focus on the bond between a Marine and her bomb-sniffing dog, its earnestness eventually tames its pat predictability.

Leavey (Kate Mara) is a wayward twenty-something whose broken upbringing leads her to enlist in the Marine Corps. She’s an early screw-up there, too, until she finds the discipline she needs to convince a gunnery sergeant (Common) that she has the touch to become a K9 handler. Teamed with a pugnacious German Shepherd named Rex, Leavey is deployed for two tours in Iraq, and both solider and canine are eventually injured by an IED blast.

It’s a double-edged observation to say that Leavey and Rex have the most authentic, developed relationship in the film. The rest of the supporting cast in Leavey’s orbit are wallpaper. Her mom (Edie Falco) and stepdad (Will Patton) are slightly skeevy but hardly deserve Leavey’s snarky spite. Bradley Whitford shows up just long enough to be the sage, pickup-driving dad. Leavey’s romance with a fellow corporal and dog handler (Ramón Rodríguez) materializes without warning and dissipates just as quickly.

No, Megan Leavey is definitely about a woman and her dog, culminating with Leavey’s dogged, if hastily depicted, mission to adopt Rex after she leaves the Marines. The care taken with their pairing even enhances director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s war sequences, particularly those about the function and heroism of military combat dogs.

But everything else, including Leavey’s shoehorned-in love for the New York Yankees, is just there to set up the climatic recreation of a real-life 2012 salute to Leavey and Rex at Yankee Stadium. The film’s leash should have been tightened by about thirty minutes, but there’s plenty to tug at the audience’s heartstrings.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

You probably want to refrain from using ableist language.

by vidvis on ADF Review: Pilobolus's Crowd-Pleasing Dance Is Apolitical. Unfortunately, the World It Inhabits Is Not. (Arts)

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation