(director/writer: Heddy Honigman; cinematographer: Adri Schrover; editor: Jessica de Koning; music: Florencia Di Concilio; Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John Appel; Grasshopper Film; 2018-Netherlands-in Dutch with English subtitles)
“It lovingly pays tribute to the spirit of these great service dogs.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The renowned documentary Peru-born, Dutch-based filmmaker Heddy Honigman (“Around the World in 50 Concerts”/”Oblivion”) in a tender way observes 6 service dogs and their masters in Amsterdam to explore in this limited sampling size the close bond between master and dog. It lovingly pays tribute to the spirit of these great service dogs.
The dogs are Makker, Missy, Kaiko, Mister, Utah and Kay: The long-haired retriever Makker is the mate of the blind octogenarian Edith van der Meulen (lost her sight during the war to a German bomb as an adolescent); Missy helps her blind owner Hans enjoy the outdoors; Labradoodle Kaiko helps with the shopping at the grocery store for paraplegic Erna Aarsen; with the camera rolling we observe the poodle Mister come to the aid of Afghanistan war veteran Trevor Veira, who is suffering from an episode of PTSD; Utah helps the young boy Zeb with his autism and Kay guides paraplegic heavy-metal fan Annabel through the crowds at a rock festival.
It does not cover the details of how the dogs are trained, selected, assigned and, if need be, replaced. Honigmann fashions her film solely as an intimate everyday relationship observation between dog and owner.
It’s a moving love fest between dog and owner, that should work well for dog lovers but might seem too sentimental and too much of a contrivance for those who are not dog lovers.
REVIEWED ON 11/2/2019