#REVIEW: “MEGAN LEAVEY”
While there certainly is no shortage of war films to have graced the big screen, Megan Leavey approaches the genre with a fresh perspective and is a story that really merits our attention.
Based on a true story which made the news in 2012, this Film by Gabriela Cowperthwaite centers on a young marine corporal named Megan (Kate Mara) who is paired with an at-first aggressive canine named Rex who specializes in sniffing-out bombs. Daunted by the assignment, Megan forms an unexpected bond with Rex. The pair are deployed to Iraq where their lives are put at risk to protect many others and their country. While circumstances at the end of her tour threaten to separate them, Megan is determined to keep her mate by her side but this isn’t as easy as it might seem.
If you asked me about Megan Leavey a year ago, I knew little of it. It is however one of those Films which comes out of nowhere and affects you deeply and isn’t a Movie you soon forget. While nowhere near as ambitious as several of this summer’s blockbuster releases or other films about the American war experience in Iraq, the Film’s vision always is clear and it succeeds largely not only as a genuinely heartfelt piece of the boundless love between human and animal, but also an educational piece about the under-recognized importance our canine heroes have in protecting us abroad.
Mara continues to establish herself as one as a real force with a fantastic performance as she grapples with Megan’s journey of growth from her most insecure point when meeting Rex at first, to her most heroic, through her most vulnerable when separated from her beloved canine mate and coping with PTSD. She is highly-relatable here in a performance that must be seen not only by animal lovers but anyone who longs to be affected by something visceral. Mara takes her Megan on a real path of growth.
The animal casting also is noteworthy as the Film’s canine lead, played mostly by Varco who was not military-trained prior, stepping-up more than ably to the physical demands of the role and is able to emote without even a word through his expressive eyes – a true testament to solid storytelling here. Ramon Rodriguez also is great opposite Mara, likable as her love interest Matt Morales. Their story line further punctuates the depth of Megan and Rex’s bond.
Elevation Pictures release MEGAN LEAVEY Friday, June 9, 2017.