Old Dog

Julian has a problem – what to do with Truman, his canine companion for many a long year. He has to find exactly the right home for his ageing pooch – not the most Hollywood of dogs by any stretch of the imagination. It won’t be easy.

A huge hit at the Spanish Oscars and applauded at film festivals the world over, ‘Truman’ has now been released in Oz to generally critical acclaim. Taking a leaf from our own ‘Last Cab to Darwin’ and the glorious French-Canadian affair ‘The Barbarian Invasions’, this movie is a celebration of life when there isn’t much of it left.

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Tomás (Javier Cámara) has travelled from Montreal, somewhat reluctantly, to Madrid to say final farewells to his terminal mate Julián, played by the wonderful Ricardo Darín. These two reconnect as Julián’s world as journeyman actor is shutting down. First task is the dog – maybe the lesbian couple will be suitable, or perhaps the predatory widow. A home just has to be found. There’s a journey to be made to Amsterdam for his son, studying there, has yet to be informed of the full extent of the cancer rampant in Julián’s body. There’s the conversation to be had with Truman’s long suffering vet over canine psychology and he has to come to terms with being fired from his job for all the right reasons. There’s also those friends to be dealt with who choose to ignore, rather than attempt to come up with all the right words. It’s all so touchingly done, but in the end this is a tale of two men trying to find common ground and the fullness of friendship in difficult circumstances. Both Cámara and Darin are superb in their roles – a glance between them says a hundred words and only the flintiest of hearts could fail to be moved by this gem, even if it’s not deliberately played for tears. The ailing one faces his demise with a stoic and matter-of-fact mien as he makes a final decision regarding his last weeks.

The only jarring note came with the sex scene that seemed, to this viewer, to be out of kilter and totally unnecessary. The deep distress felt, by his two main mates, towards the end, could have been communicated in a better way than getting their kit off and going for it. But to counterpoint that, the ending is simply perfect as Truman’s future is finally sorted.

As our nation deals with the thorny nettle of assisted death, ‘Truman’ should be in the mix, together with the aforementioned movies and that other recent release ‘Me Before You’, to assist in focusing our views. ‘Truman’ is a film that will linger.

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Movie trailer = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tzQof1453M

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