DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

WHITE GOD (FEHER ISTEN) (director/writer: Kornél Mundruczó; screenwriters: Viktória Petrányi/Kata Weber; cinematographer: Marcell Rév ; editor: Dávid Jancsó ; music: Asher Goldschmidt ; cast: Zsófia Psotta (Lili), Zsofia Psotta (Lili), Luke and Bodie (Hagen), Sandor Zsoter (Daniel), Szabolcs Thuroczy (Old Man), Lili Monori (Bev), Laszlo Galffi (Music Teacher), Lili Horvath (Elza), Kornel Mundruczo (Afgan) Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Eszter Gyárfás /Viktória Petrányi; Magnolia Pictures; 2014-Hungary-in Hungarian with English subtitles)

"A hard to fathom revenge of the outcasts fantasy drama."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A hard to fathom revenge of the outcasts fantasy drama. It tells about a pet mutt lost in Budapest, Hungary, who is abused in the streets. It's filmed from the POV of the dog. The schematic social conscience flick rails against dog abuse by humans. Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó ("Delta"/"Johanna"/"Pleasant Days") stylishly directs this visually innovative original film and co-writes with Viktória Petrányi and Kata Weber. It won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2014 Cannes Festival.

The 13-year-old tomboy Lili (Zsofia Psotta) is unhappy her divorced mom leaves without her slaughterhouse food inspector father, Daniel (Sandor Zsoter), an uptight former professor, while she goes on a three-month summer trip to Australia. Dad has no love for her mutt Hagen and after a dispute about bringing the dog to a shelter and his refusal to pay a tax to keep the dog, the dog is abandoned by the irritable dad on the roadside. The dog goes on an incredible journey, whereby after escaping from animal control officers rounding up strays in the street, Hagen is snatched by a needy person who sells the mutt to someone involved in the dog fight racket. He cruelly trains Hagen to be a killer dog.

The pic settles in as an allegory about the need for both a little girl and her dog to be loved, as it runs by us their parallel stories. It has Hagen break out of the town's biggest animal shelter with about 200 dogs following. The money shot has Lili, her school's concert trombone player, on a bicycle with all the dogs bent on revenge on the humans who mistreated them, following her.

The pic by its title pays homage to Sam Fuller's White Dog and by its suddenly frightful attack of the dogs in unison reminds one of Hitchcock's The Birds.

REVIEWED ON 11/13/2015       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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