Directed By: Kornel Mundruczo
Written By: Kornel Mundruczo, Viktoria Petranyi & Kata Weber
Cinematography By: Marcell Rev
Editor: David Jancso
Cast: Zsofia Psotta, Sandor Zsoter, Lili Horvath, Szabolcs Thuroczy, Lili Monori
*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
Thirteen-year-old Lili fights to protect her dog Hagen. She is devastated when her father eventually sets Hagen free on the streets. Still innocently believing love can conquer any difficulty, Lili sets out to find her dog and save him.
After a breathtaking powerful vivid heart racing opening chase sequence. Only to end up in a equally dangerous and evil fate in which many turns are made that look to be the end only to narrowly escape that fate.
There is also quite a gory scene introduction scene for the young girl protagonists father. Throughout we get to see his hardships paralleled by hers as each authority figure changes her and tries to break her will. Though she has and odyssey of her own powered by her own rebelliousness. It's never as hard hitting or as powerful as the one expects in this film apart from the dog. At least for me it was surprising.
The film is obviously about more and uses the dog analogy they might represent the down trodden or any race/nationality. As it seems to center alms or as a kind of spotlight for the prejudices against immigrants.
All of the untrained dogs appearing on film are mixed breeds adopted from animal shelters.
This is a quite different film that would go with the similarly titled WHITE DOG directed by The great Samuel Fuller only this film doesn't feel as sensationalistic.
This film is also a mini coming of age story as the dog begins it’s own growth and education of the cultures of the world and it's people.
274 dogs were used in the making of this movie which is the world record for the most dogs used in a feature film.
His owner is going through her own growing pains not as cruel and tough. Though without her companion she is alone. No friends really before she was still holding onto her pet like a security blanket to stay away from the world or at least help her manage it, with the dog gone. She is forced to confront as she looks for him and rebels to showcase her frustrations.
The film uses her musical talent as framework to have music work well into the story and scenes. Plus helps there be a confrontation in the finale at one of her concerts. Ties the theory that music soothes the savage beast.
Some could view this as the 12 YEARS A SLAVE of animal movies, but that would be too strong and diminish as well as insult the hardships of that film and director Steve McQueen's filmmaking process and it's descendants. Plus at least this film has a riot that kind of changes let's out the steam of the situation. It relieves the tension of the film.
At least the violence and beatings of the animals are mostly off screen and not shown. Which can make it more terrifying. Letting our imagination do the work and goes to the worst images available in the mind.
The dogfights are the only time that violence is shown on screen.
Even the riot is more about damage and disturbance. Rather then actual violence or death. Though the dogs escape is perpetrated by a violent act. Only one confronts and leads this revolt.
The main character of the dog is made into a killer with. No choice because of the violence he is put through. By people taking advantage of him when trusting and looking to survive.
It's interesting that by the end as the dog in on the hunt for revenge. His owner has learned to be at peace and the power of forgiveness. As it seems her hatred and anger has less her nowhere and in the same amount of pain as when she started. The girl character lets hate and anger rule her like those other characters she despises and is as miserable as them in her travels but learns to forgive and forget. Where as her dog starts off with trust and hope and is soon in her emotional state of hate and revenge as she is learning to change to be more happy and peaceful
Though at least his revenge and cruelty on human characters is understandable as we see and learn all the bad things that happen. Seemingly all at once as he encounters the first of many villains. Who seem to come one after another.
Though there is a sense of revenge take throughout. As we see characters from the past wonder if the tale comes from all the citizens and owners being white. Yet most of the dogs being dark or mixed. So they are seen as not pure and as the adults own them and use them to a degree and who the dogs trust and rely on. They are powerful over them. Yet can be cruel for unknown or just plain selfish unexpected reasons. Leaving the dogs to wonder why they are so forsaken. Thought to be gods or seek to be like lords over the others as they themselves don't seem to be the chosen ones.
Also as the dogs interplay are out for revenge as they are roaming. Yet their plan seems only concerned with those who abused them. At first they didn't seem that way