DOGS DON'T WEAR PANTS

★★

DANGEROUS BDSM AND MISMANAGED (WOULD-BE) GREAT CHARACTERS

ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT
By Jess Fenton
28th June 2020

The release of 'Fifty Shades of Grey', its sequels and subsequent film adaptations seem to have set off a latent need and desire for a little kink in people's lives. Everyone seems to have a bit of a hidden kink in their desires, whether it be a little nibble, a tickle, a spank or a binding. The result is a wave of films that feature B, D, S, M, or a combination. Netflix fans know what I'm talking about with the Polish film '365 Dni' regularly featuring in the Top 10 globally these last few weeks, and now the French film 'Love' (2015) is making a resurgence in popularity as well. Now, Finland is getting in on the sexy action with 'Dogs Don't Wear Pants'.

Juha (Pekka Strang), a heart surgeon, loses his wife in a drowning accident. Years later, he has become cold and reserved, going through the motions of his career and raising his now teenage daughter as she commences her rebellious years - getting her tongue pierced and playing the drums. When Juha accidentally walks into the backroom studio of dominatrix Mona (Krista Kosonen), their quick and startling encounter leads Juha to discover that a little asphyxiation can take him to a place where he can see his wife again, and thus begins a dangerous and destructive addiction and relationship with Mona.

'DOGS DON'T WEAR PANTS' TRAILER

This is a story that's built around a superficial idea. And they struggle. Yet in the process they produce two - and to an extent, three - fascinatingly rich characters... and give them absolutely no berth. I've never known of more deserving characters screaming for more. More screen time. More backstory. More understanding. More deep-diving. I, the audience, wanted so much to crack open their heads and go swimming about, lapping up every thought that makes them who they are, that explains their unconventional actions in exquisite detail. Instead, I got a dominatrix whom what little we learn about her seems counterintuitive. We have a mourning husband on a path of self-destruction with no build-up and little explanation or consequence. Watching 'Dogs Don't Wear Pants' was a frightfully frustrating experience.

I should also point out that I'm a nitpicker, and this film offered me up far too many nits to pick. Far too many! In one scene in particular, Juha wears a scarf... around a neck brace. That scarf served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. I literally lost sleep thinking about how stupid that was. I also have no doubt that the BDSM world will be up in arms with this one, much like it did with 'Fifty Shades of Grey', for the film's grossly misleading and dangerous depiction of their practices.

I've never known of more deserving characters screaming for more. More screen time. More backstory. More understanding. More deep-diving.

Reading up on 'Dogs Don't Wear Pants', I've read many people point out the film's humour and light-hearted moments. Ummm... yeah, these were clearly lost on me, or these articles and quotes are trying to gaslight me. I experienced absolutely zero humorous moments and no levity; in fact, there were two scenes which I had to watch through my fingers, leaving open only the very bottom of the screen so as to still read the subtitles.

When first presented with 'Dogs Don't Wear Pants', I was in! I had my ticket and I waved it about excitedly and with eager anticipation. It didn't deliver. It lost me quickly with its disjointed and unpleasant score, and then as the "that's not quite right" moments piled up, I could see that I was not going to walk away from this a happy customer. I very much enjoyed the premise and promise of the characters presented to me, but I wanted to know so much more about them and not so much what they simply did during a series of scenes, and that's where the filmmakers failed to understand their own product.

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