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Netflix Instant Movie Reviews – Dog Pound
This dark and gritty tale of incarcerated youth brings some hardcore realism to the prison genre.
At the same time that the prisoners in this movie scare you, with their violent tendencies and neglect for the law and other people's personal space, you get to see how scared they are. In this twisted prison system, there is no moral high ground, and there is no safety at the top of the food chain. The guards suffer as much as they cause suffering. Solitary confinement is a punishment for those who do wrong, but also a sanctuary for those who have had wrong done to them. Instead of learning how to reenter society, these kids are taught the hard way that they might not have a place in it.
So this is not a happy movie. There are still characters to root for, but you might feel like a sadist getting behind them. What mostly keeps you going is the hope that one of the kids you're introduced to at the beginning will make it out alive and with his soul intact. Spoiler alert: the entire point of the movie is that that's impossible.
Dog Pound feels a lot like other prison movies. There are plenty of beatings, contraband gets passed around, there's a rape, a suicide, and a riot. Any of these elements on its own would be commonplace and predictable for the genre, but Dog Pound makes them all feel real, and somehow personal.
The end of the movie might bring a tear to your eye. You'll be left wishing you could have spared any of these kids the tiniest bit of pain. It's heartbreaking, but also beautiful. Just don't show it to your mom on Mother's Day.