Friday, 10 October 2014

LFF 2014:
White God

12 Years A Slave meets Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes by way of Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey in this barking Hungarian canine uprising film that puts the "der" into Border Collie. When teenager Lili's loveless Pop abandons her lovely pup Hagen in the street, it's the beginning of an odyssey for both pooch and pal. Like a cute, furry Solomon Northup, Hagen finds himself sold from owner to owner, increasingly mistreated until he finds his Edwin Epps: a vicious dog trainer who teaches Hagen to fight and, hopefully, win a lot. Meanwhile Lili, distraught at her doglessness, also absconds with bad-pedigree chums, and it's up to her regretful Dad to retrieve her.

There's impressive acting from the four-legged thesps and what appears to be a vague allegory about slavery and repression running through the script (Hagen is frequently referred to in derogatory fashion as "not purebred"), but that may be giving this shaggy dog story too much credit. Its final act aims for a gritty pupocalypse, with Hagen as its Caesar, leading dozens of maltreated hounds in a revolt against mankind; instead it bounds, tongue lolling, into unintentionally hilarious horror played disappointingly straight. It makes a lot of noise, but White God is a sub-woofer.

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