Your Dog Likes Me More Than You short film review

★★★

Directed by: #ChristopherAHoffman

Written by: #ChristopherAHoffman, #IanHoffman

Starring: #IanHoffman, #BenjaminWood, #MarieZoumanigui

Film Review by: Darren Tilby



When we dig deep, we find that underlying Christopher Hoffman’s narratively jumbled film, Your Dog Likes Me More Than You, there is a competently told tale of loss and mental illness. Seen from the point-of-view of Petey (Ian Hoffman), a dog walker-come-writer (the title of the movie is also the title of his book), who finds himself between living situations, and desperate to get his book published. It capably portrays the never-ending nightmare and delusions of an already unstable man’s crumbling existence.


For me, repeated viewings of Your Dog Likes Me More Than You are essential, and at around only 26-minutes in length, this isn’t too much of an ask; you could watch this three or four times in the same amount of time it would take you to watch an average movie. I say this as the storytelling (the film’s primary issue) is pretty muddled up and not initially clear enough. To further add to the confusion, the editing, too, is a little hit-and-miss and often comes across as being a bit too keen, cutting off scenes while dialogue is still being spoken and whatnot. Only adding to the confusion. The upshot to this is that once you do have a better understanding of what’s going on, the repeated viewings are far more enjoyable. Still, there is the worry that people will be put off by what they may perceive to be bad storytelling.


It’s the same story with Ian Hoffman’s performance, too. While generally very good (there are a few moments of awkward dialogue delivery), there’s a complete lack of emotional engagement. Now, to be fair, this is entirely understandable and wholly explained...when you know what’s going on. And this isn’t a complaint. But unfortunately, that doesn’t happen until right at the end, and so it does make it difficult, at least on first viewing, to empathise with Petey as a character. But again, on repeated viewing, it’s all much, much more accessible.


Where the film really succeeds is in its nightmarish, dreamscape depiction of crumbling sanity. To me, the movie seemed to borrow from Francis Ford Coppola’s, Apocalypse Now, particularly in the way in which it melds reality into delusion, leaving the viewer ever unsure about what’s just been witnessed. Further on, the cinematography and soundtrack are solid throughout, and both contribute positively to the ambience of the film. Overall, Your Dog Likes Me More Than You is an enjoyable film; well written, well made, and well-acted. But it’s a movie that requires the viewer to put in a fair amount of effort to get the most out of it. It all comes together quite well in the end—once you pick it apart a bit.