7.2/10
320
9 user 1 critic

Dog (2002)

Inja (original title)
Using a Xhosa boy as a pawn, a farmer teaches his puppy to be white man's best friend. Ten years later, both their lives hang in the balance at the mercy of the dog.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Anele Vellom ...
Young Thembile
Lizo C. Makambi ...
Older Thembile
Danny Keogh ...
Johannes
Terry Norton ...
Hettie
Mantoa 'Kuku' Mamputa ...
Angelina
Nomasomi Fini ...
Dora
Kulule Salman ...
Friend on bicycle
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Storyline

In South Africa, not long before apartheid ends, a Xhosa lad of about 12, Thembile, gets a new puppy. They're quickly fast friends, until the White landowner sets up an incident of cruelty to the dog that Thembile realizes will turn the dog against him. Jump ahead ten years, Thembile is a strapping young man, the dog is full grown, and the boss is aging. The three of them go off to mend some fencing. When a problem arises, chickens come home to roost. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Drama | Short

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Release Date:

January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dog  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The poor kid would have dealt with the ordeal with the dog a lot better had he read Call of the Wild.
8 March 2005 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

Then again, of course, the whole point was that he was a poor black kid, pretty much a slave to the rich white man who doesn't exactly prepare him for the University. I just couldn't help remember how vicious the beatings were that the sled dogs suffered in that book. The story focuses initially on a rich white man who takes a puppy away from a young boy, puts the dog into a burlap sack and proceeds to kick him viciously, because "the dog must learn." There is some room for individual interpretation of that statement, but the overwhelming fact is that the man forces the boy to open the sack to let the dog out, and the boy worries because he knows that the dog will think that it was him doing the kicking.

It's difficult to say whether this technique was more to subordinate the boy or to turn the puppy into a working dog that will be useful on the farm as well as useful as a watchdog when it grows into a full sized dog, but I get the feeling that they are both the goals of this repulsive practice.

The film transcends the rather limited and immediate lesson of the dangers of abusing those under you and comes off to me as more of a life lesson of the extended effects that your actions can have. This process of claiming and maintaining power over the boy and the dog combined to cost the man his life and the boy his best friend.

It's odd that the tagline listed on the IMDb says that ultimately both of their lives hang in the balance at the mercy of the dog, because other than not being able to get his master's medicine to him, his life was really not in any danger. I guess he was his master, anyway. But the only way the boy's life was in danger was if he depended on the man to the point where the man's death would mean he was going to starve to death. The dog thought he was protecting his master and would not have attacked the boy unless he tried to approach the man.

This is a pretty powerful film, and while I think the message itself is not exactly lightning out of a clear sky for unexpectedness, it is delivered with a richness and clarity that should be praised, especially in such a short film.


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