Stray Dog (2015)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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