Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Waldo the Dog (2010)

Waldo the Dog

Written & Directed by Kris Canonizado

Waldo...Rook Kelly
Jaquelyn...Jaquelyn Xavier

Waldo the Dog isn't really a dog.  One would assume that he is a very sick homeless man who believes that he is an anthropomorphic animal.  When he speaks, he does so in an unnaturally high-pitched voice, like an out of work Disney character.  This is his story.

The first 30 minutes of the film are dedicated mostly to the repetitive ins-and-outs of Waldo's day:  wake up; collect recyclables; beg for a little change; practice his lucha libre moves at the local gym; secretly follow Jaquelyn, his love interest, home from work; masturbate furiously while he watches her through the window; lay out his bed of cardboard boxes, and attempt to sleep through the night.  All of which is occasionally punctuated with bouts of silent weeping.

The repetition of his days is eventually interrupted when Jaquelyn is assaulted on her walk home.  Ever the faithful watchdog, Waldo rushes in to save the day through his practiced routine of extreme violence.  After the initial shock of their first face-to-face encounter is over, Jaquelyn and Waldo stike up an unlikely friendship.

Shot on a handheld camera in true guerilla-style (no filming permits for these fellas, I'm sure!), there is a certain air of faux-believability lent to these proceedings, making it seems almost like a peculiar documentary one might find late at night on PBS.  This method of filmmaking does not make for a beautiful looking film, but there are certainly moments of beauty to be found within.  There is a sparse but very effective soundtrack that captures the mood of each scene perfectly.

The relationship between Waldo and Jaquelyn, as unlikely as it first seems, turns out to be quite believable in the end.  Both are damaged goods, both are looking for comfort and safety, both are running from something--although in Waldo's case, he's running from himself.

There are moments of levity, and there are moments of violence.  But Waldo the Dog is actually a touching and moving, albeit rather twisted, story about intense human themes:  the sometimes-thin line between love and obsession;  penance and redemption; vengeance and forgiveness;  professional wrestling and second chances.

It takes a truly skilled filmmaker to make you question your own sympathies, but that's exactly what happens here.  Your emotions ebb and flow throughout the (admittedly slightly bloated) two-hour running time, running the gamut from love, hate, pity, sorrow and everything in between.  By the time the finale hits, you don't really know how you should feel.  You are in that grey area of the heart, because when the mask comes off, nobody--not Waldo, not Jaquelyn, not even the audience--is protected by the illusion of distance that the rubber dog face offered. 

In other words, this is no longer Tex Avery gone bad.  Shit just got real.

If this movie does not have at least a cult following within one year's time, I will lose all hope for the future of the film medium.  An utterly fantastic first effort, I can not wait for the promised arrival of the sequel.

Call me Oprah, bitch.  Waldo the Dog is currently one of my favorite things.

Visit the official page HERE.

View the teaser below!

Rated R
115 Minutes
United States


1 comment:

What do you got to say about it!?


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