Movie review: Dog Pound

James McMahon gives us his opinion on the film

When I was at university, the biggest fear amongst the student fraternity wasn’t pneumonia, the locals who enjoyed kicking new students heads in or the creepy guy who used to hang around the toilets in the union bar during fresher’s week. No, the thing we were all afraid of was an email from one of our lecturers accusing us of plagiarizing an academic text in our essays. If that happened you got named and shamed infront of the entire student community, and bawled out by an irate course leader for copying stuff that was far cleverer than we could ever think of.

Well, consider this review me publically bawling out Dog Pound writer/director Kim Chapiron for having the audacity to plagiarize seminal 1979 borstal flick Scum so brazenly.

First things first, Dog Pound isn’t a bad film. It’s quite a serious film (which should go without saying, it being a film about borstal and not Care Bears) and at times it’s quite distressing; it’s frequently brutal, it’s got a rape scene in it, it’s often graphic in its depiction of violence. It’s not thick either; if you care about this sort of thing, there’s some interesting parallels drawn between the objectification of females and proclivity for violence (I don’t really care about that sort of thing by the way, my favourite film is Jurrasic Park, but horses for courses and all that).

It’s got some great performances too; Adam Butcher as anti-hero Butch deserves singling out for praise, playing the part with an intensity rarely seen out of MMA rings, while Shane Kippel and Mateo Morales should be equally proud of their work. I should give props to the authentic job done by the supporting cast too (fittingly half the cast was culled from juvenile centers around the US), while throughout,
it’s a diverting hour and a half of serious drama.

But anyway, let’s get on with the bawling.

See, the think that’s so audacious about Dog Pound is how wholesale its plot, tonality and execution is lifted from Scum. The rape, the
deaths, the final ruckus in the prison canteen. Short of a fat young Ray Winstone running around ranting about West Ham, it might as well
be the same movie. In fact, this all reminds me of that craze that occurred a few years back when Arthur Daley-esque independent film
makers were making films like Squirrels On A Plane or War Of The Planets to make a cheap buck on the legitimate success of other,
bigger, more recognizable intellectual properties. Which is a shame – because Dog Pound is certainly an adept piece of filmmaking, abet one
without an original idea in its crew cropped head.