By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Drug dealers kill each other; blood, language, and sex.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.
Positive Role Models
There are no nice people on display here. Killers and drug dealers surround themselves with henchmen and others fully aware of what these guys do for a living. Although three men seem to be in love, women are generally treated as annoying, peripheral, and mostly useless characters. A White police officer makes supposed good-natured fun of how dark the skin of his Black colleague is. They both laugh.
Violence & Scariness
A man is killed by machete to the neck. Many are shot, some at point-blank range, with blood freely flowing. Two men are shot in a car, and the camera lingers on blood covering the windows. Someone reports that gold teeth were pulled from a dead relative's mouth before cremation.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two women's breasts are seen as they have sex with men in darkened rooms. Statuettes of a man with an exaggeratedly large erect penis and one of two people having sex sit on someone's desk. Several characters are sex workers. Dogs are seen having sex.
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"F--k," "s--t," "piss," "ass," "p---y," "screw," "crap," "damn," "screw," "sperm," "jerk," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The movie is about drug dealers. One is addicted to what seems to be crystal meth. He also drinks a lot and snorts cocaine. A man drinks while driving.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dogwashers is a violent look at drug-dealing gangs in Colombia (in Spanish with English subtitles) straining unsuccessfully to echo the comedy of Pulp Fiction, rarely hitting the mark. Instead, it takes a meandering and convoluted path through drug use, death by machete, and tons of shootings. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "piss," "ass," "p---y," "screw," "crap," "damn," "screw," "sperm," "jerk," and "bitch," and adults have sex in low lighting with wives, prostitutes, and other people's wives. Breasts are shown. Women are generally treated as annoying, peripheral, and mostly useless characters. Dogs are seen having sex. Adults use and abuse meth, cocaine, and alcohol. A man drinks while driving. A White police officer makes supposed good-natured fun of how dark the skin of his Black colleague is. They both laugh.
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What's the Story?
DOGWASHERS is the slang for grunt workers in the world of drug dealers, the guys who pick up and deliver, threaten and kill, for their vicious idiot bosses. Milton (Anderson Ballesteros) is one, and he's less than loyal as he's gotten the boss's wife (Isabella Litch) pregnant. This will be awkward since the boss, Don Oscar (Christian Tappan), has been diagnosed with slow, weak sperm. Oscar has other troubles, too, the most pressing a large debt to a far younger, more meticulous and organized drug dealer called El Pecoso. After killing a loose-lipped girlfriend on the side, Oscar grabs henchman Fredy (Jhon Alex Toro) and takes it on the lam without a care for the fate of his wife and the employees he leaves behind. Good decision-making will never be his strong suit, a fact compounded by his addiction to meth, cocaine, and alcohol. Add that to his hot temper and anyone who doesn't please him is likely to find him or herself riddled with bullets. He shoots two escorts in a fit of pique. When Oscar's options run out, he sends Fredy to retrieve cash hidden in a Virgin Mary icon in the driveway. Unfortunately, the non-too-bright gardener with debt problems of his own already discovered it and ran off with the stash. Anticipating a bad end for everyone, Milton rats out Oscar's location to El Pecoso, sending a small army of bad guys to put Oscar out of his misery. Who will live and who will die?
Is It Any Good?
It's not unreasonable to assume from the opening scenes that most of the main characters in this story may end up dead, and that such an outcome might not be a bad thing. Dogwashers is a vile, boring comedy-wannabe without an original character or idea, which makes the random and gratuitous violence difficult to endure. A man is killed by machete to the neck early on, and that's just a gratuitous "appetizer." The attempts to ape the nonchalant barbarity of Pulp Fiction and the imbecility of characters in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fail.
For a few moments it seems as if there may be at least one decent man to empathize with, a churchgoing dog-lover, but he turns out to be a vicious enforcer who, we're told, went above and beyond an assigned murder, killing someone by sticking a drill up his, well, the movie leaves it to our imaginations. There's nothing really funny about watching amoral dopes struggle with their stupidity, especially when that stupidity results in violent, bloody murders.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what message filmmakers who choose to make gratuitously violent movies are trying to send. Aside from acknowledgement that irredeemably bad people exist, what do you think this movie tells us?
How are women and people of color portrayed here?
When movies focus on unlikable characters, how to you think audiences find a way to engage in the story?
- In theaters: October 9, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: March 5, 2021
- Cast: Christian Tappan, Anderson Ballesteros, Jhon Alex Toro, Ulises Gonzalez
- Director: Carlos Moreno
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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