White God - This Movie Rocks Like Lassie Come Home On Neck-BIting Steroids
Dir: Kornel Mundruczo
Starring Zsofia Psotta, Sandor Zsoter, Lili Horvath
Mundruczo’s film is a dark allegorical fairy tale that mixes Lassie Come Home, The Incredible Journey and even Rise of the Planet of the Apes (with a titular nod to Sam Fuller) to impressive effect.
Set upon the streets of a Hungarian town that seems at times one step away from a barren wasteland, Lili (an excellent Psotta) is forced to move in with her aggressive father, who subsequently sets her beloved dog free to avoid paying some national dog tax or other. The mixed breed Hagen reluctantly takes to his new life on the streets, hooking up with similarly abandoned mutts and trying to avoid the evil local dog-catchers.
You might think that what follows would the stuff of standard Disney fare, as Lili sets out to defy authority and be reunited with her beloved Hagen. But no! Hagen gets picked up by a dog-fight trainer, who brutally breaks the loving mutt down into a lethal killing machine of a fighter. But Hagen is not content with his success in the ring, he wants his species to have a more even footing in society in general, so sets out – Caesar-style – to lead a revolution. Dogs take to the streets, people flee in fear. There will be blood. Oh, hang on, there is – as Hagen goes right for the throat and insists on taking it with him.
White God avoids the obvious potential silliness of the above, by playing its canines as strong characters, emphasising the myriad ways they are mistreated, and fascinating us with their unexpected rise to power. It’s often very gripping, although the drive of the film seems to get away from the director in the third act. That said it comes back strong for its climax and ends with a beautiful haunting image that, unfortunately, the poster has completely given away.
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