13 July 2015 | stephendaxter
A great relationship driven film, that turns into a generic adventure film
Max is a film following a dog whose owner was killed in battle and gets moved to stay with the family of his late owner. However, like people he suffered from PTSD and so he found it difficult to be around other people and trust anyone. And that was the aspect i loved about this film, seeing how the war affected this dog and how it affected his relationship with the people around him. They did a great job at capturing the emotions of this dog, and really showing how these events affect dogs in the same way they affect the soldiers. You really get to see how it affects him through his interactions with the various characters in the film, especially Justin; the brother of the deceased played by Josh Wiggins. The scenes where his and Max's relationship is being explored are definitely the highlights of the film and most of that is in the first third to half of the film. But i felt that the film wasted the perfect opportunity to really go in detail about how Max adjusts to trusting people other than Justin as he trusts Justin right from the beginning. After the first act, a lot of the character development was actually focused on Justin and some other life decisions he faced, now although some of this was interesting i felt that it lowered the importance of Max's transformation a little.
Where the biggest flaw with this movie lies is the plot, it is mostly fine for the first act or so but after that they bring in this side plot involving some secondary characters you don't want to really see. They begin to show up here and there and they were also useful for Max's transformation at one point. But then it just takes over the film in the last act and it turns into a completely different movie that really didn't fit the tone of the rest of the movie. It felt messy and turned into your generic good guy bad guy film where the family dog pitches in and helps out a little. During the entire third act, Max undergoes a pretty important change that i feel was rushed and not focused on when it was a big thing early in the film, and that kinda bugged me. How i would describe this film is, if you take the PTSD elements and all of the emotional family relationship stuff from American Sniper and get rid of the war moments and replace them with a generic young kid takes on the bad guys story you have this movie. So in the end, this film really captured my attention with depicting Max, his relationship with the people around him especially Justin, but it lost me with a sloppy, generic side plot that takes over a lot of the movie. - 4.5