Thursday, April 22, 2010


I had the pleasure of volunteering for this year's Tribeca Film Festival, and with that, I was able to receive the privilege of seeing a few free films. I saw three in total. However, only this film (Dog Pound) is really worth reviewing. The other two were more experimental pieces than anything. If you are wondering what they were, they were Buried Land and The Travelogues. Both of which I thought were rather slow and weak. Okay, so lets get crackin'...

Dog Pound (2010)
-Twisted French Filmmaker and TFF native, Kim Chapiron, gives us an eye opening inside look into a juvenile corrections facility in Montana centering on three young teenagers. For those of you who don't know Kim Chapiron, his first feature film came out 4 years ago at Tribeca Film Festival. A dark, twisted horror film called Sheitan starring an unrecognizable Vincent Cassel. I remember seeing that film at a special screening at the New York Film Academy 4 years ago and it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I didn't know what was going to happen next. Really didn't want it to end either. It was that good! Aside from Cassel's towering, terrifying performance, the film itself was incredible. More of a psychologically draining horror film. It leaked into your mind. A major nail biter. Anyway it wasn't until 2010, that Chapiron released his next feature, of which he had been co-writing for 4 years with first time American screenwriter, Jeremie Delon. Dog Pound is definitely not for everyone. It contains a large amount of extreme violence as well as brutal subject matter. The 3 main characters are Angel, Davis and the leader of the group, Butch. Angel is played by new comer, Mateo Morales. Angel is the 15-year-old Spanish delinquent who is sent to the prison for auto theft and robbery. Then there is the leader of the group, Butch, played menacingly by Adam Butcher. Butch is the 17-year-old inmate with the most amount of anger building up inside him and is ready to snap at any moment. A rather disturbed individual. Having being sent to the prison for blinding a corrections officer. And there is finally the pretty boy, Davis, played surprisingly well by Degrassi co-star, Shane Kippel. Davis is the rich mama's boy jock type who finally gets a rude awakening when he arrives at the prison and is taunted by almost everyone really testing his confidence. He is also in the prison for narcotics. Shout out definitely has to go to Kippel's performance. I am not really a big fan of the show, Degrassi (even though my good friend, Mazin Elsadig was on it. He played Damien. GO RE-WATCH IT!), however, his character was by far the most fascinating and the most sad. Being this big hot shot in his high school most likely, deflowering all these various virgins, and being a bonafide mama's boy. He was the one I felt the worst for to tell you the truth. The film itself is not amazing. There are some bits of weak acting and lazy writing, however, I was completely entertained from beginning to end. The entire film keeps you on the edge of your seat and is so unbelievably intense at times that you get goosebumps and begin to shake. Well, I know I was at least. All in all, I really enjoyed the film and I definitely would watch it again in a heartbeat. I was grateful to get a ticket for this film, because it was at the top of my list when I was first looking through the film guide. The other two I saw were so lame, that I'm happy I at least viewed one good film. The other stand out performance is from non-actor, Taylor Bouer, who in the first half of the film, plays the big man on campus. The one everyone is afraid of, until Butch straightens him out... Taylor plays a character named Banks. This big, heavy set, criminal with demon like eyes and the most horrifying speech pattern. Taylor was and most likely still is an actual criminal and not an actor at all. Which just made it that much more scary. There were scenes Taylor had with Kippel's character where I am on the edge of my seat and am terrified for myself. Imagine how terrified Kippel would be in the actual scene when they were filming! So like I said, the film is definitely not for everyone, however, it does give an interesting message. Basically letting parents all over know that sending children to prisons are not exactly going to make them better when they come out. If anything, it'll make them worse and that much more violent.. Unfortunately Dog Pound does not have a theatrical release date yet, being that it is still on the festival circuit, having it's last screening tomorrow afternoon, May 1st. However, for those in France or Switzerland, it will be released on June 23rd! Hopefully it will be released this summer in the states as well... hopefully. 

FILMBOY - Chris von Hoffmann


"I'm the happiest the saddest guy in the world can be." - Vincent Gallo