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Review: White God

A young girl rides her bike frantically on a sunny day in Budapest. The sky is a perfect blue but the streets are eerily deserted. She is wearing a hoodie and a skirt and dress shoes. What catastrophe has caused her to hop on to her bike and take off? Then we see them, the dogs, a mismatched horde running around the corner.

White God, on the surface is a darker version of the classic Homeward Bound type movies except White God asks not if the pet will make it home but rather if the pet will make it home as the same pet the owner knew. In doing so the film is actually telling a story about conformity and ultimately about love. The adults in the film conform without question. They have accepted the “adult” world. No one asks why non-Hungarian breeds and mixed breeds are subject to fines. No one cares except for Lili who owns a loveable mutt named Hagen. The dogs of Budapest have also learned to conform. They are mistreated and discarded onto the streets until eventually the dog catchers get them. They have accepted the brevity and brutality of their lives.

When Lili is dropped off to live with her estranged father he makes it obvious that Hagen is nothing but an inconvenience. When the dog catcher comes knocking on his door demanding that he register Hagen and pay a fine he refuses and Hagen is abandoned by an underpass. Thus begins Hagen’s journey from loveable house pet to doggie freedom fighter.

While the plot of White God may be simple enough, the scenes with the dogs are shot so perfectly that even the most hardened viewer will be moved. It is obvious that months of training paid off since these are some of the most expressive animal actors you will ever see.

White God is a film about conformity and ultimately a film about true love. If Hagen returns to Lili a changed dog does she still love him? Can she? What made her love him in the first place and does that spark still remain somewhere within this dog who has experienced more in a few weeks than most humans do in a lifetime.

[star v=4]