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Enola Vale-A Place To Grow And Learn.,
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This review is from: Dog Pound [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Dog Pound is directed by Kim Chapiron who also co-writes the screenplay with Jeremie Delon. It stars Adam Butcher, Shane Kippel, Mateo Morales, Taylor Poulin, Dewshane Williams, Lawrence Bayne and Trent McMullen.
Young offenders Butch (Butcher), Angel (Morales) & Davis (Kippel) are sent to the Enola Vale correctional facility and find that bullying, drugs and abuse are the order of the day.
To clear things up, since there seems to be a lot of confusion on internet forums, Dog Pound is to all intents and purposes a remake of Alan Clarke's seminal British Borstal shocker, Scum (1977/79). It's the same plotting, much of the same characters are recycled and all of the big scenes from Scum are recreated as well. Only difference is is that Chapiron has shifted the story to North America, to a fictional correctional facility in Montana. It's basically done what the Farrelly Brothers did with Fever Pitch. What should be noted is that Chapiron hasn't hid from this fact, he didn't make the movie thinking nobody would notice, he actively acknowledged his worship of Clarke's film, making Dog Pound very much the ultimate American homage. Claims of it being a rip-off etc are way off the mark, it's a remake and nobody has denied this.
Much like the original British version, Dog Pound is brutal, upsetting and has a loud booming voice. The director follows Clarke's template by keeping it grimy and raw, and by shooting it in semi-documentary style and using rookie actors and real life ex-offenders in the cast, Chapiron has gone, and gotten, gritty realism. He's also added a couple of his own neat touches to the narrative. The pressure the guards are under is scrutinised, how it affects home life, and there's a deft line about AIDS in the story, how people react to sufferers of the disease. The recreation of a young offenders facility is well researched, with laid bare dormitories and depressing corridors, while the cast, particularly a terrific coiled spring Butcher, can't be faulted for excellent serving up of the material to hand.
Minor problems do exist, familiarity of genre is always an issue, and here for anyone who has seen either of the Scum movies, there is no surprise factor, it does feel a little old hat. This even though Chapiron appears to be making the comment that problems inside juvenile facilities haven't ceased since the 70s. The Angel character is badly under written in the context of him being one of the central characters, a big misstep since he forms a crucial plot development, whilst the use of music is also a very bad idea. These irritants stop the film from being up with the best of the genre, but it's still a potent firecracker of a picture. Very well made and still it has something to say, in that the cycle of violence continues inside, that juvenile institutions are still questionable tools for rehab, problems are there and Dog Pound ferociously makes its point. 7.5/10