Unhinged Crime Thriller Grips You And Doesn’t Let Go, Stream Without Netflix Subscription

By Robert Scucci | Published

dog eat dog
  • The surreal crime thriller Dog Eat Dog is streaming on Tubi.
  • Dog Eat Dog stars Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, and Christopher Matthew Cook as crooks on a heist.
  • Critics call it a guilty pleasure movie.
  • You can stream Dog Eat Dog for free, without a subscription.

Heist movies come in many different flavors, but Dog Eat Dog has one so distinct that you won’t be sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Stylistically speaking, this Paul Schrader-directed film is all over the place, but its disjointed narrative and absolutely insane delivery will keep you engaged in way that you may have previously thought unimaginable. From its brutally violent opening sequence to the surreal cinematography found in its third act, Dog Eat Dog will take you on a trip that will make your stomach turn with confusion in the best kind of way. 

Willem Dafoe At His Most Deranged

dog eat dog

We’ve seen Nicolas Cage try to steal a baby in Raising Arizona, and in a way, Dog Eat Dog has a similar conflict that drives its plot. But what sets the two films apart is Willem Dafoe’s absolutely unhinged performance as a meth and sex addicted psychopath with no moral compass. But before we get into the actual heist, we need to set up the characters and their problematic personalities. 

The Trio Of Crooks

dog eat dog

Dog Eat Dog has three primary protagonists: Troy (Nicolas Cage), Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe), and Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook). Having spent most of their adult lives in and out of prison for committing a series of crimes ranging from petty to violent, the three ex-cons have grandiose plans to get back on their feet by securing a big payday and hopefully transitioning to more socially acceptable career paths. The only problem is that none of these guys are very good at committing crimes, which becomes apparent within the first ten minutes of the film. 

Out Of Their Depth

dog eat dog

Playing out like a Quentin Tarantino throwaway B-movie (this is a compliment), Dog Eat Dog has a sense of humor like no other. When Troy gets an opportunity to kidnap a baby for a cash payout of $750,000, he makes the fatal mistake of vouching for Mad Dog, who committed a brutal double murder while on a drug-fueled bender just two days prior. If you’re able to get past the opening scene without turning off the film and seeking therapy, then you’ll sympathize with Diesel, who’s reluctant to work with Mad Dog during such a delicate operation. 

Knowing that their futures hinge on successfully carrying out their kidnapping crime, tensions run high because up until this point in Dog Eat Dog, the trio has only participated in low-level snatch-and-run heists where they immediately blow their cover.

Don’t Expect A Happy Ending

Every principal character in Dog Eat Dog is doomed from the start. Troy is too eager to win big, which makes him too trusting of his cohorts. Mad Dog can’t control his emotions, which makes him an extremely volatile accomplice. Diesel, who is the most reserved of the three, has nothing to lose and goes into the heist with a “do or die” mentality. 

What we’re presented with in Dog Eat Dog is the perfect recipe for disaster, and one of the weirdest viewing experiences we’ve ever willingly subjected ourselves to. 

Critics Don’t Love It, But Don’t Hate It

Dog Eat Dog was far from well-received upon its release, garnering a 51 percent critical score against a 19 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. While critics were quick to point out the film’s many faults and thematic inconsistencies, they also expressed appreciation for Dog Eat Dog’s appeal as a guilty pleasure kind of movie that you need to watch if you’re a fan of experimental crime dramas. In a more positive review written by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, Paul Schrader was praised for putting out one of his best films in years by leaning into the inherent insanity of Matthew Wilder’s screenplay.

It’s Worth It For The Wild Ride

Dog Eat Dog will take you on a psychotic trip down a very questionable road, but if you don’t care about the destination you’ll be glad you watched it. It may not be a high-water mark for Nicolas Cage or Willem Dafoe, but they clearly had a lot of fun working on this film, and their infectious energy can be witnessed on Tubi if you’re willing to give this black comedy crime thriller a chance.