Film Review: Max

 

Max PosterAfter Marine Kyle Wincott is killed during combat in Afghanistan, a series of events finds his family, and more importantly his younger brother, taking care of his combat service dog, Max. Max now suffers from PTSD and reacts unpredictably and violently toward most people except Kyle’s brother Justin, who at first wants nothing to do with the responsibility. Things take a turn for the worse when Kyle’s friend and unit member Tyler comes back to town and may not be as good a friend as the Wincotts think. Relationships are strained and preconceived notions are challenged, as everyone is led into a tense, action-packed finale.

What started as a seemingly predictable plot peppered with one-dimensional characters grows into an interesting story which is still, unfortunately, filled with one-dimensional characters. Max is a well-directed and well-acted film that suffers from the characters not being fleshed out in the writing stages. However, the story moves at a brisk pace and hits all the right emotional beats before heading into suspense territory. Overall, I found it more entertaining than I expected to and was very pleased to find that it wasn’t solely a “pro-military” film, but rather deals more with the aftermath of war and its toll on those who survive it. Also the canine actor, Carlos, who portrayed Max, is especially impressive in his training. He can show a range of reactions and actions, which are usually split up between a team of dogs in films like this.

This film may not be for everyone, but is certainly recommended for those looking for a well-made and entertaining drama and will be enjoyable for families with older children. A word of warning: While the film isn’t graphic, there is some violence involving animals.

Max (2015); Director: Boaz Yakin; Starring: Josh Wiggins, Thomas Haden Church, and Lauren Graham

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