'White God' [Blu ray]
(Sandor Zsoter, Szabolcs Thuroczy, Gergely Banki, et al / Blu ray / R / 2015 / Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Overview: 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.
Blu ray Verdict: Simply put, 'White God' is a film about a little girl and her dog. But if you think this means a teenage "feelgood" movie, think again. In fact, the girl is a rebellious brat who disobeys her father, insults her music teacher and at one point gets arrested for drugs possession. And at the end of the film the dog is no longer a cute animal, but a killing monster. It's clear this is not a film for the fainthearted. There's blood, there's killing, there's cruelty, there's violence.
And that is exactly the good thing about 'White God'. It's a film about dogs, and it takes its subject seriously. The dogs are not at all friendly cuddly creatures with human qualities, but turn into fierce monsters who take over an entire city.
The animal trainers have done a great job in this film. It's incredible how well the dogs play their part, and do exactly what is necessary for the story. There's one small but wonderful scene with the lead dog character walking over a bridge. Every time he hears an unexpected noise, for example a river ship blowing its horn, he is startled. When he is reassured, and convinced that there is no danger, he walks on. Great scene, great directing.
The most spectacular scene, though, is one that features twice in the film. It is the opening scene, and the rest of the film is shown as a flashback, leading up to that same scene. It shows a completely deserted city, with only the little girl riding her bicycle and a pack of aggressive dogs roaming the streets. It's impressive film making. That is also the case, by the way, for the very last scene, which has an almost poetic beauty and is featured on both the film poster and the Blu ray cover art.
I liked 'White God', because it is something out of the ordinary. Serious films about animals are quite rare. Mostly, like 'Free Willy' or 'Beethoven', they are family-oriented feel good movies. 'White God' definitely isn't a feel good movie. And it's not family-oriented either. Moreover, it is well-made, with solid acting, original camera angles and nice cinematography. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Behind The scenes of WHITE GOD
Interview with Writer / Director Kornél Mundruczó
Interview with Animal Coordinator / Technical Advisor Teresa Ann Miller