*** out of ****
The Hungarian made White God is an unusual and effective film that sort of plays like Rise of the Planet of the Apes except with dogs and without CGI.
A child of divorce, thirteen-year- old Lili (Zsófia Psotta) has to spend a few months with her dad (Sándor Zsótér) while her mom is away on business. The young music student isn't thrilled about the situation, but at least she has the company of her beloved dog, a mutt named Hagen (played by twin brothers Luke and Body). However, there is a tax on mixed breeds where they live, so out of frustration, Lili's father drops the dog off on a street corner. Needless to say, Lili is devastated and rebels. Hagen, on the other hand, desperately tries to find his way home. On his journey, Hagen befriends other dogs but also learns first hand the cruelty of humans.
The middle section of Kornél Mundruczó's White God is on the slow side, but it pays off with a third act where Hagen and a large band of canines rebel against humans and terrorize the town. Sure, you've seen crap like Day of the Animals (1977), but this dramatic thriller has a poetry to it, and the scenes where about 200 dogs are seen running the streets are stunning sights to behold, even if there is too much drunken hand-held shaky cam going on.
Here's a bit of trivia: All the 250 plus dogs used in the movie were shelter dogs, and none were harmed in the making of the film. After filming ended, the filmmakers set up an adoption program and all the dogs have been adopted.
White God will be playing at the Prytania Theatre from June 5th to the 11th.