Glasgow Film Festival 2015: White God

Film Review by Jamie Dunn | 19 Feb 2015
Film title: White God
Director: Kornél Mundruczó
Starring: Zsófia Psotta, Sándor Zsótér, Lili Horváth
Release date: 27 Feb
Certificate: 15

Lili loves Hagen, but Lili’s father disapproves. He kicks Hagen out on to the streets of Budapest, where he’s used and abused and thrown in the slammer. But one day Hagen snaps. There’s a jailbreak, and he, along with dozens of his fellow inmates, goes on a rampage across the city, handing out payback to every lowlife who took advantage of him. Sounds like a classic bit of B-movie pulp, right? There’s a twist though: Lili is a 13-year-old girl and Hagen is her loyal mutt.

White God’s structure is delightfully mad. There’s at least three tonal zigzags: from realist melodrama to Disney-esque creature feature yarn and then, thrillingly, to all-out animal uprising movie. What holds Kornél Mundruczó's scrappy film all together is its fierce and forceful political metaphor: society’s underdogs – be it ethnic minorities, the poor, the disenfranchised – if pushed too far, will bite back (in this case literally).

Even when the fur flies and the jugulars rip, there’s never any doubt as to where our sympathies should lie. Much of this credit should go to the film’s dog handlers, who turn Hagen and his canine pals into nuanced anti-heroes. Andy Serkis wearing a leotard covered in ping-pong balls couldn't have done any better.

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22 Feb, GFT, 5.45pm

23 Feb, GFT, 3.45pm