"Biting the Hand That Beats Them"
What You Need To Know:
While it’s easy to admire the feat of directing 200 well-trained dogs, WHITE GOD metaphorically pushes a leftist political agenda, hidden within a story about animal cruelty. This, coupled with graphic violence and crude language, make WHITE GOD unacceptable for children. WHITE GOD is also unacceptable for other audiences, despite its impressive filmmaking.
(HH, PCPC, SoSo, B, Ro, LLL, VVV, S, AA, DD, M) Strong humanist, politically correct, socialistic worldview in allegory that implies the white race is to blame for the suppression of minorities and their lack of socioeconomic progress, set in the context of animal cruelty toward animals, especially dogs, who revolt and start killing humans, mitigated by some moral elements where people are held accountable for immoral behavior, with a Romantic, idealistic, animal rights worldview of equal treatment among humans and animals; approximately 30 obscenities and profanities, girl vomits, man depicted urinating; very strong violence includes body of cow hung in slaughter house being cut open for inspection, blood splattering in slaughterhouse, farmers lead cows to slaughter, dead stray dog shown lying in street garbage, butcher threatens to gut dog with knife, dog beaten with whip, half-dead dogs shown at dog fights, two dogs fight almost killing one with graphic wounds and blood, dog is euthanized, dog bites a chunk out of man’s neck, mob of dogs run over people, dogs brutally attack and kill multiple people with lots of blood and wounds shown, multiple dogs are shot and killed, dog shot twice at point-blank range with bloody wounds shown, dogs roughly handled; teenagers kiss at a club and an ad for breast enhancement is briefly shown on a website; teenagers drink in a club, teenage girl passes out from drinking too much; teenagers smoke, light cigarette smoking, illegal drugs found in teenager’s pocket, drugs illegally given to dog for anesthesia, and drugs illegally given to dog for muscle enhancement and to increase aggression; and, rebellion against authority, girl disobeys father, girl lies to father and teacher, man abandons dog on street, dogs illegally sold and chained, dogs take revenge, humans kill and mistreat innocent dogs.
WHITE GOD is a Hungarian allegory about the evils of Western society and racism, placed in the context of human cruelty toward animals, especially dogs, who decide to revolt.
In WHITE GOD, 13-year-old Lili and her mixed breed dog, Hagen, are forced to stay with her father, a supervisor at the local Hungarian slaughterhouse, while her mother is away on business for two months. A new tax is being levied on owners of mixed breed dogs in an effort to cleanse the canine population of stray mutts and preserve the purebred lines. Lili’s father isn’t fond of Hagen, so when the dog becomes too much of a burden for him to handle, he throws it onto the streets, crushing his daughter’s spirit.
Hagen must learn to fend for himself as he meets up with a pack of strays, who show him the ropes of finding food, water and shelter. While being chased by dogcatchers, a homeless man hides him and ends up selling Hagen to a man who trains fight dogs. Hagen is transformed from a loving pet to a killing machine and ends up winning his first dog fight.
Hagen ends up running away from this brutal life but soon finds himself imprisoned in a dog shelter scheduled to be euthanized. Fed up with the mistreatment of him and his fellow strays, he leads a rebellion and the dogs work together to escape from the shelter. They form a mob on the city streets of the city, seeking revenge on all the humans that made them suffer. A killing spree occurs as one person after another is attacked. Lili is convinced that Hagen is somewhere in the pack and races to find her once beloved pet before the police kill him.
The best part of WHITE GOD isn’t the story, but the story behind the scenes and the incredible acting of the dogs. Approximately 200 dogs were used, all taken from shelters and adopted after the movie was made. Hagen was played by two identical dogs and one can’t help but admire their level of training and talent. It’s a tremendous filmmaking feat to direct that many dogs at once and have them perform on command.
However, the director’s intention isn’t to make a movie about dogs. His message is designed to criticize the supposed European crisis of white supremacy, and the effort to exploit minorities in order to maintain power. Instead of making the story directly about this political and socioeconomic issue, he chose to use the metaphor of animal cruelty and the superior attitude of humans lording over the animal kingdom. The mob attack of the dogs toward the end serves as a warning that those who are suppressed will eventually rise up against their suppressors and get revenge for their mistreatment.
While certainly creative, the average viewer would never extrapolate this from the movie’s plot without the aid of reading an interview from the director. There are some good points to take away from this movie, but the worldview is skewed toward a humanist, leftist agenda and presumes the cruelty of an entire race of people from the perspective of European and Hungarian politics.
WHITE GOD contains a large amount of violence, mainly directed toward animals. There are graphic images of cows being inspected after slaughter, dogs being killed by other dogs and humans, humans being killed by dogs, and the use of knives and guns as weapons. Lili goes to a club with some of her teenage friends where she drinks and is arrested for possession of drugs. There is also some crude language to accompany an overall sense of cruelty, rebellion and revenge.
WHITE DOG is clearly unacceptable for children, despite the central story revolving around a child and her dog. Ultimately, it’s also unacceptable for other age levels as well.