Reviewed by Simon Fink

Sundance Film Festival 2007 (World Premiere)–Along with the dreadful “Weapons,” the over-hyped “Hounddog,” about child rape, has the distinction of being one of the worst films in the dramatic competition. Structurally messy, and burdened by a rambling plot, this Southern Gothic wannabe is written and directed by Deborah Kempmeier, one of the three women (out of 16) in competition this year.

Based on her first, highly acclaimed feature, “Virgin,” which was nominated for the 2004 John Cassavetes Spirit Award (given for movies made under $500,000), there was good reason to anticipate an interesting follow-up, particularly that it deals with such hot-button issues as child abuse, rape, sexuality, and identity.

But, alas, Kempmeier doesn't even get a decent performance from the reliable child actress Dakota Fanning, who has done such good work in other films. Well-intentioned, “Hounddog” aims to show how a precocious girl assumes the courage and the strength to overcome debilitating, insurmountable obstacles. But the movie is so poorly conceived, written, and helmed, that it's hard for us to feel real sympathy for any of the characters, including the girl.

Dakota Fanning plays Lewellen, a bright Southern girl, who manages to radiate splendor and rise above her murky and depressing surroundings. Raised by an abusive father and a disciplinarian grandmother, she finds comfort and joy in music. Obsessed with Elvis Presley, she breaks into his songs whenever she feels like.

In addition to music, being in nature barefoot, and playing in the woods with her friend Buddy bring her moments of happiness as a country girl. Except that what begins as innocent role-playing and sexual games with Buddy deteriorates into something else, much scarier. Soon, in the best traditions of Southern melodramas, it becomes clear that Lewellen is a girl with a hidden, painful past, buried deep inside her.

As writer, Kempmeier is intrigued by the question of whether Lewellen is a survivor who will succeed in pulling out all of resources, spirit, and resilience in overcoming a traumatic event and its aftermath. But her text is clichd and full of stock characters we have seen or read in Southern Gothic literature, drama, and film: Drunken abusive patriarchs, white lowlifes and rednecks, simpletons (idiots), uneducated blacks, and so on. Some critics have complained about the race of the characters wishing it was not so stereotypical. Perhaps.

What I find more bothersome is that the film's clichs extend beyond the narrative to characterize the physical milieu, the woods, the house, and even interiors. There are so many snakes in the movie, that, at one point, some audience members joined the hissing on screen!
In a crucial scene, Charles (Afemo Omilami), Lewellen's protector-mentor, tells her that one of her rare gifts is “snake magic” (whatever that means).

Indeed, “Hounddog” feels as if it were based on the director's memory of reading Faulkner and Lee Harper novels or Tennessee Williams plays, rather than fresh recreation of a more immediate experience of the Southern tradition; I'm now curious to know the director's social background.

As a period piece–the tale is set in the late 1950s–“Hounddog” is also unconvincing. This is most evident in its anachronistic lingo, especialy in the dialogue scenes between Lewellen and Charles, who says things like, “Missy, you have to fill the empty void inside you besides Elvis.”

According to the press notes, no less than three cinematographers, all talented–Ed Lachman, Jim Denault, and Stephen Thompson–worked on the film, so it's impossible to establish who's the most responsible for the film's overall look–and tone.

Speaking of multiple players behind the cameras. If my count is correct, no less than 19 people are described in some kind of executive or production capacity! (See list below).

Of the several mature women in the cast, Robin Wright Penn, who has some touching scenes with Fanning, is the only one who gives a decent performance. But, again, who exactly is Robin Wright Penn Cousin Aunt Family relative In the credits, she's identified as “the Strange Lady,” whatever that means.

As the grandmother, a bloated Piper Laurie renders an unappealing turn that makes her rigid redneck of a woman even less sympathetic than it must have been on page. How can you take her seriously, if she is running around with the Bible and a Whiskey bottle

You can see why Fanning's agent and/or manager have encouraged her to take the role. It truly runs the whole gamut of emotions and behaviors. She is asked to cry, woo, scream, laugh, and even sing Elvis Presley tunes. Not to worry: Fanning is by now an established pro, so “Hounddog,” likely to be be quickly forgotten, is not going to damage her bright career.

After the Sundance Film Fest, the film went back to the editing room, where the filmmakers tried to make their tale stronger, more focused, and more nuanced. They claim that the pressure to meet the Sundance's deadline had compromised their film, which was then more about action and is now more about reaction and emotional texture. However, having seen both versions, the new cut strikes me just as bad as the original one was in January.

Courting Controversy

This much-touted film had already been condemned by conservative religious groups–sight unseen. Some have called for an investigation of child pornography during the shoot. To her credit, Kampmeier presents the rape very briefly (less than a minute), and in decidedly non-manipulative or voyeuristic mode (unlke the torture scenes in Tommy O'Haver's Sundance-premiered “An American Crime”).

After the negative response to the film at Sundance, the marketing campaign changed, and “Houndog” is now accompanied by a statement from Peter Samuelson, Founder First Star, which says: “More than six million children are involved in reports of abuse and neglect each year in America, many of them victims of sexual abuse. We all need to pay attention to this epidemic. My hat is off to Deborah Kampmeier for making the film and Dakota Fanning for taking on this brave role. First Star encourages other responsible filmmakers to use their talents in a similarly responsible way, to raise public awareness of these silent tragedies.”


Running time: 98 minutes

A Motion Picture Group production in association with Full Moon Films and Deerjen Prods.

Director-writer: Deborah Kempmeier
Producers: Deborah Kempmeier, Jen Gatien, Raye Dowell, Terry Leonard, Lawrence Robbins
Executive producers: Robin Wright Penn, Scott Franklin, Henri Kessler, Rebecca Cleary, Stacey Bakula
Co-producers: Kelly R. Tenney, Kathi Scharer, Gabrielle Berberich, Jim Czarnecki.
Co-executive producers: Sam Froelich, Chris Hanley, Roberta Hanley, Michael Shane, Gary Smith
Editor: Sabine Hoffman
Production designer: Tim Grimes


Lewellen – Dakota Fanning
Buddy – Cody Hanford
Granny – Piper Laurie
Daddy – David Morse
Charles – Afemo Omilami
Strange Lady – Robin Wright Penn
Grasshopper – Isabelle Fuhrman
Truck Driver – Ron Prather
Big Mama Thornton – Jill Scott

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88