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Johnny Mad Dog (2008)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 8,890

My Rating

Movie Info

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

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All Critics (25) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (5)

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.

January 21, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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Sauvaire, hesitating between a protest picture and a glam-squalid imagist orgy, only succeeds in scattering human rubble across the screen.

January 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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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.

November 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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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.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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A fearsome plunge into the world of child soldiers in present-day West Africa.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Johnny Mad Dog is an assaultive fiction about Liberian child soldiers.

May 22, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Educational, truthful and important.

January 26, 2011 Full Review Source:

Director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire's deftly stylized camerawork reminds us at key intervals that what we're seeing is artifice, dramatization.

January 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine's difficult to recommend Johnny Mad Dog, despite-and in some ways because of-the fact it is very good.

January 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

breathless, ferocious, and deeply unsettling

January 20, 2011 Full Review Source:

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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

A gut-wrenching, documentary-style look at a company of Kalashnikov-wielding kids.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Never letting up for a moment, you should go see - but prepare to be shocked.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

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.

October 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

There is an odd whiff of post-colonial bongo-bongo about it - i.e. sit back, munch popcorn and watch the natives blow holes in each other.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK] | Comments (3)
Times [UK]

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.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

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.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The film has an immediate power no one could deny.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

This small, uncompromising masterpiece stands out in especially stark but refreshing relief.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

The film is swift and gripping but rarely flashy or titillating; sympathetic to its anti-heroes without ever slighting their victims.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A brutal, blood-soaked film that feels like a primal scream.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

JMD may be technically superb but it is brutal and sick-making. As such, it's hard to fault . . . but I wouldn't watch the blasted thing again if you paid me.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: News of the World
News of the World

Audience Reviews for Johnny Mad Dog

Powerful insight into the psyche of child soldiers with a mesmerising central performance and a real driving energy but shrouded in the darkness of the subject material.
March 20, 2010
Gordon A

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