Streaming Releases: Bitch (2017) Reviewed

When a marriage fails due to a husband's poor lifestyle choices, a wife goes into a strange mental breakdown which causes a weird outcome in the new indie streaming release, Bitch. 

Played as a dark comedy that's rooted in family drama tropes, this little film has quite a bit of potential but falters under the weight of an idea that's bigger and heavier than what's put forth on screen. The premise that a woman's psyche will allow her to become a dog to hide herself from the doom of her relationship is a topic that's never been done on screen before. While the logic is there and it could potentially make a great movie when done with the right cast and director, Bitch is a series of scenes that never really add up, making this an unfocused project that could have used a more heavy handed approach from the production department. Ideas should have be reined in. Character arcs needed broader strokes. 

With a cast that features the talents of Jason Ritter, Jaimie King, Marianna Palka, and Brighton Sharbino, there's plenty of luster behind the credits. However, it's the narrative that never really takes off. There's not much back story. Showing the audience little trickles of the main character's mental plight and only small glimpses of Ritter's awful adulterous proclivities, the transformation into the four legged human/canine persona comes at a specific cost. It actually fails to capture any sympathy or engagement from an audience that might be confused or frustrated by a movie that tries so hard to be edgy that it ends up becoming an annoyance. 

Lizzie, I told you to look at the flowers!

Palka (Netflix's Glow) stars as our central character, Jill Hart. She also directs. Having numerous other directorial efforts behind her, you'd think that she'd be on the upswing with Bitch. As she does a fair job creating the physical and vocal traits of a canine, it's her time behind the scenes that seems to need the most work. Again, the idea of a person relapsing into their innermost beast seems like a cool plot for a film. Here, it just doesn't work. And the dry editing style should have been given way more personality. 

If you're looking for the next great indie gem, this isn't it. It's a hard watch to get through that's even uncomfortable at times. You can see that there's a much better movie that's bursting at the seams to let itself be known. Unfortunately, Bitch has way too many flaws to be THAT movie.