White God

Top Dog

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Dvd & blu- ray - Jor­dan Far­ley

Re­lease Date: 3 Au­gust

2015 | 15 | DVD Di­rec­tor: Kornél Mun­druczó Cast: Zsó­fia Psotta, Sán­dor Zsótér, Luke and Body

This al­le­gor­i­cal Hun­gar­ian drama scooped the cov­eted Palme Dog at the 2014 Cannes film fes­ti­val, and de­servedly so. The ca­nine cast daz­zle in this tale of an op­pressed pooch who in­cites a furry revo­lu­tion on the streets of Bu­dapest.

Ha­gen is the love­able mixed­breed dog of 15- year- old Lili. Af­ter be­ing aban­doned on the streets by Lili’s tight- fisted fa­ther, Ha­gen trans­forms from kind- hearted ca­nine into the snarling sur­vivor of the fight­ing pits, lead­ing a seem­ingly or­gan­ised upris­ing across the city to en­act bloody re­venge.

Part so­cially- con­scious an­i­mal wel­fare drama, part Cujo, White God mainly plays things pow­er­fully straight. Ha­gen’s bru­tal fight train­ing is gen­uinely up­set­ting stuff, the re­as­sur­ance that “no an­i­mals were mis­treated or harmed while train­ing and film­ing ” more of a re­lief than ever be­fore. The fi­nal act is where the film takes a turn for the fan­tas­ti­cal. It’s a thrilling about- face, with mass maul­ings and marches down mil­i­tarised streets never less than thrillingly con­vinc­ing.

If there’s a down­side it’s that Lili’s par­al­lel story doesn’t quite match the emo­tional highs of Ha­gen’s. It’s stan­dard “young girl gets mixed up with the wrong crowd” fare, only re­ally reg­is­ter­ing when Ha­gen’s on screen. Far from a dog’s din­ner, White God is real Pedi­gree Chum.

Ex­tras: In­ter­views with the di­rec­tor and the an­i­mal co­or­di­na­tor, plus a be­hind- the- scenes piece.

“Lis­ten. I haven’t al­ways been a dog.”

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