Congratulations, Colombia! You’ve caught up with America’s rich cinematic tradition and produced one of your own trashy, cliché-riddled, post-Tarantino gangster movies. The country’s official Academy Award entry for Best Foreign-Language Film—and its first-ever feature to be invited to Sundance—Dog Eat Dog follows sour-pussed thug Victor (Marlon Moreno Solarte), a seemingly smart cat who moronically knocks over the first domino when he pockets the money he’s been hired to collect for nihilistic kingpin El Orejón (Blas Jaramillo). Now holed up in a hotel room with Eusebio (Óscar Borda)—a hired goon who has been put under a deadly curse by El Orejón’s cigar-smoking voodoo priestess—Victor tries to pre-ordain the double- and triple-crosses of the crime genre, unaware that he’ll mostly be knocked around by the deus ex machina end of a mediocre screenwriter’s pool cue. With a background in television and music videos, director Carlos Moreno’s feature debut is mighty shallow. Its bloodshed carries little weight; the sporadic humor is cheap and casually racist. The only entertainment to mine from the glum proceedings (and incessant spitting!) is in its ironically upbeat Latin pop score. Yawn.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 21, 2009