White God Review
White God is a 2014 Hungarian drama film directed by Kornel Mundruczo. It won the Prize Un Certain Regard at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It deserved all of its accolades and critical acclaim as it truly is an authentic and marvelous achievement.
It follows a young girl who has a mixed-breed dog Hagen. One day, her father dumps him on the street and Hagen’s journey starts with him eventually gathering 250 of dogs and they start an uprising against their human oppressors. The plot itself is really good, but it is the approach and execution that makes it great. For once, you get the perspective from a dog himself which is so unique and for once you get a truly realistic and honest look at mixed-breed dogs and the real troubles they go through on the street. It is an important and insightful film for that matter and everyone should see it.
The problems I’ve had with White God are twofold. First of the two is that the film is at times overly brutal. Yes, it was important for us to see that and the film mostly is just a psychological horror which is great, but there are certain times where they’ve gone too far with the blood and killings being particularly unnerving and just too much. Also, that ending, while triumphant and emotionally satisfying, is still too much of a typically happy ending and it is predictable.
However, what isn’t predictable is the film’s first two acts which are fantastic. The first is a great emotional drama and has some excellent character moments between Lili and Hagen and the second is a brutal look at what happens on the streets and an excellent view from a dog’s perspective. It is great how the film is thematically rich and you can take anything you want from it in terms of politics and social commentary, but what is even better is its use of different genres with drama being superb, action being well realized and even horror being present in the end and well done.
Lili is a great, grounded character and of course Hagen is phenomenal. The father is also realistic, but the problem for me was everyone’s hatred towards mixed-breed dogs exhibited here as it was bit too much and difficult to believe. But the character development is solid for this kind of film and of course the acting is superb as all of the actors did a great job and the dogs are all terrific.
White God is technically such a polished film. The cinematography is amazing, the directing and acting are both so phenomenal and the pacing is terrific with just the right amount of running time and an epic scope is definitely there. There are many memorable sequences here from the ending to the perfect opening to some great dog close-ups. The imagery is great and the movie is so authentic which is its biggest strength. The dialogue is solid and the movie is sophisticated and always fascinating and incredibly engaging to follow. It is also very realistic and its subject matter is not only important but also perfectly approached and realized. The movie is serious and mature in the best way possible while also attaining its emotional intensity and its heart. In a great year for foreign movies, this is one of the better ones and such an original and bold film that is definitely worth a watch.