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Review: Hot Dog

Updated: Mar 3, 2022


A group of co-workers attempt to rescue a dog locked in a hot car. Chaos ensues in a single shot.


Pulling off a scene, or in this case, a whole movie, in one shot often carries the potential to become a gimmick. As impressive a feat as it is, it becomes easy to let the technicality overshadow story. What a treat it is then, to find a film that employs this method in service of the story rather than as a distraction from it.

Writer and director Patrick Muhlberger creates a crisis centred around a slowly unravelling protagonist. Newly promoted Matt (Elisha Yaffe) and a group of co-workers are dragged into a rescue situation when they discover a dog locked in a car on a hot day. With Matt being the man in charge at work, it naturally falls to him to take the lead in this situation, enter a chain of events that put his very fragile leadership abilities to the test.

One of the more impressive aspects of this film is its ability to deliver exposition in a very natural manner, avoiding the common pitfalls of awkwardly inserting backstory into the plot and stopping the flow of the story. It quickly becomes clear that Matt was given a promotion over co-worker Christina (Marissa Rivera) who gradually becomes the catalyst for what becomes an increasingly challenging day for Matt.

A broad colour palette is front and centre in this film, with enigmatic characters literally brightening up the screen. Most of the characters boarder on caricature with the exception of Matt and Christina, whose conflict drives the escalation of events and pushes the film forward. The supporting cast never fail to bring the funny, touching on modern dating, cancel culture finding the solutions to all of your problems with a Google search.

The wide array of personalities only makes it harder for Matt to take control of the situation. This is underscored by some masterful blocking and staging by Muhlberger, Director of photography John Veleta and Steadicam operator Gio Barot. The movement of the frame keeps Matt at the centre, while moving around him, visually having events happening around Matt and as they literally spiral out of control. With each revolution, the tightly written script finds a way to raise the stakes, upping the tension and with it the comedy.

Given the run time of around 10 minutes and the fact that this is one continuous scene, it is impressive that the film manages to include a considerable amount of characters (on screen and off), action and backstory, while still remaining on-topic and tightly structured. Muhlberger does not forget the characters who are not the focus of every key moment, resulting in some fantastic background comedy, even as Matt’s gradual meltdown occurs centre-stage.

This is a short comedy that is a pleasure to watch, even through facepalming fingers as we witness the emergence of a very bad day…and love every second.

Studio: Patrick Muhlberger | Year: 2020 | Genre: Comedy | Duration: 10 mins | Suitability: Mature - Contains mild violence and adult language



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