I always get confused when US titles come over to the UK and they’ve been renamed and rebranded. Rex was originally called Megan Leavey over in the states and it has been getting rave reviews across the pond. I’m a sucker for a movie which focuses on our relationship with animals and Rex seemed right up my street. This movie stands head and shoulders above many classics for me personally, watch out Old Yeller and Marley and Me, there’s a new kid on the block!
Rex is based on the true-life story of young Marine Corporal Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy.
Knowing that Rex is a true story really put things into perspective for me when watching this powerful drama. This dog that served 100 missions in Iraq is a sight to behold and the close bond that Megan Leavey shared with this animal is emotional and tear-jerking at every corner. Megan’s character is portrayed as lonely and misunderstood and in a way so is Rex, this out of control canine who is perceived to be angry and aggressive but at heart just wants to be loved. Kate Mara puts in an incredible performance and this movie is so beautifully directed I wish it didn’t have to end.
Leavey joined the Marines to get away from her life after the loss of a dear friend. She signed up for the canine training programme that prepares dogs for active duty and for bomb seeking and together they form an unbreakable bond. Through trial and tribulation, this film chronicles the missions and dangers they encounter along the way and this is where my term “Action-Packed” may be misunderstood. Don’t get me wrong Rex has it’s fair share of action here and there but it’s more the tension that is built throughout the film that creates the action. At any minute a bomb could detonate, at any second something could happen that would threaten Megan and Rex’s lives and it’s this hint and nudge at deadly outcomes that makes it tense, nerve-wracking and incredible to watch.
You are driven along a journey of bonding, bravery and defiance in the face of danger. It’s harrowing to watch and so powerfully emoted. Rex is a true testament to the armed forces and the soldiers on the frontline with their canine companions sniffing out bombs and other dangers along the way.
One of the best human and canine companion movies out there. Tom Felton adds a strong supporting role to the cast but it’s Kate Mara’s show throughout and what a performance she puts in. Commanding every scene alongside Rex as they battle together through enemy lines. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite was also behind the controversial documentary Blackfish and it’s clear to see here in Rex just how much she treasures and adores all creatures great and small who inhabit this earth.
Rex is Powerful and Action-Packed an absolute marvel and such a wonderful film that I’m so proud to put a 5-star review upon. It’s not every day a film like this comes across my desk but I’m so very, very happy it did!