By Jeff Walsh
"Dog Tags" is an interesting movie, in that it plays with a lot of parallel structures without sacrificing a satisfying story. The movie starts with Nate getting his head shaved by his fiancee before his recruiter comes to pick him up.
Andy is younger and trying to find his way in the world. He comes from privilege and is rebelling with his black clothes and eyeliner. In flashback, we see the guy he's still trying to get over, a soldier wearing dog tags.
Nate joined the Marines to have a better life for both her and his mother, who all share a run-down house together. Between boot camp and being sent to war, Nate goes to buy her a ring. As he's walking down the highway towards the city, he gets picked up by a guy who tells him the ring store requires you to put half down, but if he needs some money...
In one of the best plot contrivances I've seen in a while, Nate ends up in this guy's apartment, clueless. Within a few moments, Andy comes in as well, to shoot a straight Marine porn clip for the Web.
The two spend the rest of the movie together, learning about each other in a classic road picture. A lot of things aren't spoken. We know Andy is into guys, but we get major clues that show he has slept with women in the past. We never get the sense that Nate isn't straight, but being around Andy does make him open up and question his life more.
Most of the fun of this film is about the discovery and watching it unfold, so I won't say too much about the particulars. But it's definitely an interesting ride, watching this odd couple find the stories that connect them, and what you can learn about yourself from the unlikeliest connections.
Despite the title, and the "Dont Ask, Don't Tell" tagline, this has nothing to do with the military, or gays in the military, in case that made the movie more or less appealing.
It's definitely worth a look, though. Check it out.