Johnny Mad Dog (2008)
Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 24
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 5
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 8,872
A vicious child soldier armed with weapons of death and willing to use them at the slightest provocation serves as the focal point for this drama highlighting the need for greater humanity in a country ravaged by absurd wars. Johnny is a fifteen year old soldier with a small commando unit, and together this team robs, pillages, and kills everyone and everything in their path. Laokolé is a sixteen year old girl who spirits her disabled father around on a ramshackle wheelbarrow and looks after her
Jan 21, 2011 Limited
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The movie is harrowing and hard to forget. But just when you think there's no hope, Sauvaire throws in a tearful moment of redemption.
Sauvaire, hesitating between a protest picture and a glam-squalid imagist orgy, only succeeds in scattering human rubble across the screen.
Basically, talented French director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire has too much style on his hands. His film isn't as amorally grandiose as City of God. Nor does it achieve the hulking tragedy of Gomorrah.
The film sees war as a deadener of moral and physical inhibition, a paradoxical state where there are no winners or losers, just the living and the dead. Stunning.
A fearsome plunge into the world of child soldiers in present-day West Africa.
Director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire's deftly stylized camerawork reminds us at key intervals that what we're seeing is artifice, dramatization.
...it's difficult to recommend Johnny Mad Dog, despite-and in some ways because of-the fact it is very good.
What end does a harrowing and horrifying film like this serve? Understanding? Political awareness? I'm not sure. One thing is certain: you won't forget it in a hurry.
A gut-wrenching, documentary-style look at a company of Kalashnikov-wielding kids.
Never letting up for a moment, you should go see - but prepare to be shocked.
Harrowing, violent and deeply disturbing, this realistic drama about children fighting in Liberia's grisly civil war (1999-2003) is not only a strong story, but it has wide resonance as a look at young people living without limits.
War is brutalising, infantilising, dehumanising, requiring the unquestioning submission to authority. All soldiers are child soldiers: that is the bitterly cynical nightmare that Sauvaire's film insists upon to the very end.
Imagine an African Lord of the Flies pulled off with the jittery expertise of The Hurt Locker, and you're only some of the way to grasping what's in store in Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire's Johnny Mad Dog.
This small, uncompromising masterpiece stands out in especially stark but refreshing relief.
The film is swift and gripping but rarely flashy or titillating; sympathetic to its anti-heroes without ever slighting their victims.
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