BLACK DOG is the debut feature from actor-director George Jaques starring writer-actor Jamie Flatters (AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER) as Nathan and Keenan Munn-Francis as Sam. The two teenagers meet when Sam is being mugged and Nathan apparently stops to help him out. They run into each other again and end up sharing a trip up to Scotland from London. Nathan is the more dominant character, even criticising Sam's driving. He's just left foster care and is going up to Scotland to find his sister. As for Sam, his reasons for going north are more mysterious.
I think we are meant to find this road-trip deeply affecting, and to be moved by these two protagonists finding companionship and empathy in their traumatic childhood experiences. But I found the film to be underwritten, over-acted by Flatters, and cliched in its direction. How many times have we seen a conflicted character jump into a swimming pool as a camera follows them under water in slo-mo? How many times have we seen a character plunge into the ocean in a moment of catharsis? I wanted more from this. I wanted to feel real deep human connection, and a unique moving reaction to spending intense time together. I was disappointed.
BLACK DOG has a running time of 96 minutes and had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.