A big ol’ slice of American cheese, Saving Shiloh plays like David Lynch sans dark irony: suburban Midwest picture postcard opening, “It’s a strange world” monologue, even a chance finding of crime scene evidence in a wood, with a snoopy kid following up by playing amateur detective. That’s where the parallels to Blue Velvet end and the ones to The Straight Story begin — this is a surging Hallmark-style production aimed directly for your heartstrings.
As L Magazine readers are well aware from having studied the previous two Shiloh films, young Marty Preston rescued Shiloh, an adorable beagle (personal weakness) ten times more clever and helpful than your dog, from curmudgeonly town outcast Judd Travers, but now helps poor Judd seek redemption even as he comes under suspicion for murder. As strictly family fare Saving Shiloh does what it intends well, even if the Christian moral is poured on thicker than the sappy symphonics that accompany every bright-as-day image. This didn’t win the Heartland Film Festival’s Truly Moving Picture Award for nothing.