Sundance: Hounddog Movie Review

At this year’s Sundance film Festival everyone seems to be talking about three movies: Teeth about a girl who has teeth in her private area, Zoo a documentary about a guy who died when having sex with a horse and Hounddog (one word) which is being referred to as the Dakota Fanning Rape movie. A catholic organization protested last night’s premiere at the racquet club theater, insisting that it was child pornography. So is it?

The first scene involves young Dakota “whoring” herself out to her young best friend Buddy. She offers him a kiss in exchange for seeing his penis. Of course we don’t see the kid’s private area, it’s all done off screen. Well the film also contain the following:

  • She gyrates like Elvis throughout the movie, one time while lying on a bed in her panties for the Milk Delivery Guy (who is looking downtown).
  • Dakota drinks beer.
  • A scene where she is forced to dance naked for Elvis tickets.
  • And scene after scene with Fanning walking around in nothing but her underwear.
  • And of course the much talked about full out rape sequence.

Hounddog Poster smallThat said, there is nothing sexy about the rape sequence. In fact, it’s very short, respectfully done, with most of the action happening off screen. It’s more disturbing that anything else. But the question now becomes: without the shock value of the Dakota Fanning sex stuff, is Hounddog a good film? Well sort of.

The story drags but the performances and cinematography are extraordinary. Fanning delivers a matured and sophisticated performance. And I must applaud the film for it’s use of realistic characters vs. the usual cultural stereotypes. But in the end the movie is much ado about nothing.

/Film Rating: 6 out of 10

Written and Directed by: Deborah Kampmeier
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Isabelle Fuhrman, Cody Hanford, Piper Laurie, David Morse, Jill Scott, Robin Wright Penn

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.