Lili is a 13 year old girl who has recently moved away from her family to live with her father and her dog Hagen. However Hagen is quickly abandoned by the father due to it being a mixed breed. What follows is a tale of the two attempting to reunite themselves.
The above synopsis doesn’t really do White God justice, because it’s far more complex than that. Actually it’s probably a little too complex for its own good. It’s a film that can be taken a multitude of different ways, you could see it just as a film about a little girl trying to find her dog through extreme circumstances, you could read it as a tale of the class divide, and you could read it as a thriller around the dog fighting industry. I could go on for some time, and that’s just the ones I noticed after having seen it once, for sure it’s a film I will be returning to.
Essentially after say the first 20 minutes the film gets split in half, following the tale of Lili and the tale of Hagen. Personally I found the story of Lili trying to fit in with a new group of friends and getting to live with her father whom she doesn’t know especially well the more compelling half. Rather than the story of Hagen being put through extensive misery involving a dog pound, various abusive owners and dog fights. Now this may just be because I’m not a massive dog fan, but I do honestly believe human emotion is infinitely more interesting than that of a dog. That said though the scenes of dog fighting are incredibly well done and really quite scary.
Overall, this is a film I admired more than I enjoyed. It is superbly well done and has a depth of message where there needn’t be. However I didn’t always engage with the dog side of the story as much as I would have liked to.