Stray Dog


Stray Dog

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Reviews Counted: 31

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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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Debra Granik could have gone in any number of directions after the success of Winter's Bone. For her follow-up, Stray Dog (winner of the Best Documentary at this year's Los Angeles Film Festival), Granik created a documentary portrait of Ron "Stray Dog" Hall (who played Thump Milton in the 2010 film), an aging biker and RV park manager from southern Missouri. When we are introduced to Hall and his friends, they appear to be the very image of "middle America" held by New Yorkers: hard-drinking (moonshine, no less), gun-toting, tattooed motorcycle freaks. Slowly, gradually, another image comes into view, of a man who has been permanently altered by his tours of duty in Vietnam, who has come to terms with himself and acquired a rare wisdom and patience in the process, and who is now dedicated to helping his friends, his loved ones, and his fellow vets. This is a moving film fabout community and the bonds that hold it together; in its surprising second half, when the children of Hall's Mexican wife arrive in Missouri, it is also a vivid snapshot of a changing America. (C) Sundance

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Critic Reviews for Stray Dog

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (13)

It would be easy to say Granik offers a portrait of redneck life in "Stray Dog," but even allowing for Hill's guns and skepticism about government, it's clear such an oversimplified cultural cliché can't begin to describe the reality here.

Oct 22, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Without voice-overs or interviews or other narrative cues, it offers vignettes from Hall's life, a mosaic portrait of a part of America that is misunderstood, dismissed, exploited, and wooed by outsiders.

Oct 22, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

This is Granik's first documentary, and it lacks the momentum of her two dramatic features (the other is the gripping addiction drama Down to the Bone with Vera Farmiga). But it's still a worthwhile bulletin from red-state America.

Sep 10, 2015 | Full Review…

Expertly playing with our preconceived notions, Granik's multidimensional portrait also serves as a telling state-of-the-union address, as seen through the caring eyes of her philosophical main subject.

Jul 23, 2015 | Full Review…

"Stray Dog" largely succeeds because Granik's technique complements her subject. Both he and the film are modest in their goals and cherish the value of honesty.

Jul 3, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Perhaps its greatest virtue lies in its powerful, implicit challenge to the lazy habit of looking at American life through polarized red- and blue-tinted lenses.

Jul 2, 2015 | Full Review…

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