Chris’ Movie Review
Rating: 7/10 (Satisfying)
Recommendation: Redbox It
Megan Leavey stars Kate Mara (Megan Leavey), Ramon Rodriguez (Matt Morales), Tom Felton (Srgt. Andrew Dean), Common (Gunny Martin), and Rex (Megan’s dog).
Megan Leavey is a person with no true direction in life. Her best friend died, her mom seems more concerned about herself, and Megan is an introvert. After being fired from her for being hung over, Megan decides it’s time to get away and she signs up for the Marines.
Once boot camp is completed, Megan goes out with a few friends and gets into trouble for going to the bathroom in the bushes. She is then ordered to clean up the kennels where future war dogs are trained.
Seeing how the dogs connect with their fellow humans, Megan goes about trying to become a dog handler. After completing the necessary requirements, she gets Rex, and from there, they begin to bond and deal with the true harshness of war.
Megan Leavey is a film that gives us respect to the unsung heroes of war, the dogs and their handlers. The movie also showcases how close these people can become to their companions and how their dog can mean so much to them even after their tour is over. So thank you for those who have served or are serving. You are appreciated in every sense of the word. But there is still a review to be had, so let’s go.
For starters, Kate Mara is solid. She is the main focus, other than Rex, and she gives off a good performance with everything that’s given to her. Her portrayal of the real life Megan Leavey feels genuine and well researched. But, with all that being said, the movie does fail her in some aspects.
The first negative is the main character’s development. The back story of Megan’s life is hit and miss. While we do get a grasp on the basics, there are a lot of things that just aren’t explained that well. For instance, it’s never really said why she resents her mother so much. There is speculation but we’re sort of left in the dark as an audience.
Now, this is based on a true story, so Megan may not have wanted to express each of these elements fully in the film, and we should respect that, but it does leave a hole development wise. There are other elements like this throughout the movie, such as her relationship with her dad and sort of boyfriend that comes out of no where. But depending on how you look at it, it may not bother you any. It just needs to be mentioned.
Another hit is scene transitions. The movie really flies by, which is a good thing in this case, but there are a lot of scenes that don’t seem to fully take. For instance, Megan’s time spent with Rex is a little more implied than shown throughout the film and that takes away from the audience to really get a good feel on how close these two are.
It’s not that we don’t get the gist but that’s it. We mainly get briefings as opposed to getting a well detailed amount of development between her and her dog. Again, it’s not a huge issue but if they spent more time with this connection, we could really get some tears in the audience.
Now a positive is the war scenes. These are directed in a way where you’re never sure what’s going to happen next or if anyone is going to die in the process. The camera work is a bit shaky but it’s not so disorienting that you can’t tell what going on. They are well directed scenes and, for a movie that seems a little bit on the low budget side, this is a great achievement.
The side actors are pretty good in this movie as well. Even though this is Kate’s film, the backing cast comes through with the roles and doesn’t just let Kate handle the whole movie by herself. She definitely gets support throughout.
Another good thing is the relationship with Megan and Rex. Even though the film doesn’t go all out with their connection, we do get a good sense of what Rex means to Megan. Rex is a huge part of Megan’s life and he’s saved her and thousands of others. So when we get to the part where Megan decides to leave the military, and she can’t take her dog with, we do become saddened and want her to fight with all Megan’s life to get Rex back.
Megan Leavey is a movie that’s an overall satisfying biography. It showcases the main highlights of Megan’s life and presents us a side of the war that we may, or may not, have known about.
The movie doesn’t give enough character depth. The scenes can tend to go by too quickly at times. And the relationship between Rex and Megan is a bit more off screen than on screen at times. But Kate Mara and the side actors have a solid performance, the war scenes are well directed, and from what we do get between Rex and Megan, is pretty good.
It’s not a perfect biography but it shouldn’t be fully overlooked either. It’s compelling enough that you will most likely be more invested with it than The Mummy.
As usual, thanks for reading!