As depressing as it may be, dogs are often the first casualties of a movie trying to drum up a little emotional involvement. As a dog lover (and as someone who conveniently gets dust in my eyes every single time a dog buys it in a film), I’d prefer one joint contract, signed by the entire film industry, making all pooches, past and present, fictional and non-fictional, off limits.
It’ll never happen. Proof of this comes from John Wick (and from common sense), an upcoming thriller that, according to Deadline Hollywood, just cast Willem Dafoe in one of its leading roles. Dafoe will play Marcus opposite Keanu Reeves’ eponymous character, both hit men forced to combat each other due to circumstances that all began with dog death. Reeves’ dog is murdered. Reeves murders dog murderer. The dog murderer (as is usually the case in crime thrillers) turns out to be the son of a seriously well-connected mobster, who sends Dafoe after Reeves. But of course, the two men are close friends, leading to the kind of conflicts that normally crop up when one friend is paid a handsome sum to shoot the other in the face.
All those who react poorly to dog death should probably stay away from this one (and the trailers, and the posters, and Reeves- just to be safe). Those with a better grip on their emotions are welcome to watch Reeves react to the loss of his closest companion with quiet, mumbly dialogue.