The review of Zack dog hero, a film set during the Second World War that tells the story of the incredible bond between a child and his German shepherd, tonight broadcast on RAI1.
Berlin, World War II. Following the promulgation of the Nuremberg laws, even the family of little Joshua as belonging to the Jewish faith ends up in the crosshairs of an ever greater intolerance. Day after day the situation becomes more and more complicated and soon his parents understand how he is reaching the point of no return. Among the many prohibitions imposed there is also that of not being able to own pets, and so Joshua is forced to separate from his beloved German shepherd named Zack.
As we tell you in the review of Zack the hero dog the separation is traumatic and the quadruped ends up in the hands of a middle-aged couple, but one day he decides to flee to return to the house where he lived with his young owner: of Joshua and his family there is no longer any trace, since they were deported to a concentration camp. However, Zack does not lose heart and sets out on the child’s trail, but ends up in the hands of a German trainer who uses him to move up in the ranks of the army. Soon, however, Joshua and Zack will be able to meet again …
Not to forget
In a few days, January 27 to be precise, it will happen like every year the Day of Remembrance to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and also the television platforms pay their homage by broadcasting productions related to the drama of the Holocaust or the Second World War. As in the case of RAI1, which today in prime time broadcasts a film little known to the general public such as Zack, hero dog, never passed in theaters and in first television vision. On the other hand, we are faced with a modest production, perhaps more suitable for the small screen both for the conventional narration, dedicated to the widest possible audience – with an eye to children of the same age as the little protagonist – and for a staging without particular flashes that still has the merit of getting away with it discreetly despite a reduced budget.
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Ups and downs
In short, Zack, dog hero is the classic production that does not take risks of any kind and that dilutes the tragic nature of the context in an almost fairy-tale approach that has repercussions in the relationship between the child and the dog, under the banner of a rhetorical sentimentality that proceeds on canonical steps: estrangement, reconciliation and predictable happy ending. The violence of what really happened in the concentration camps is left out of the shot, even if a handful of tensive sequences, especially in the final half hour, are still there. Certainly the story of this German shepherd, cinematographic heir of far more famous colleagues such as Hachiko or Rin Tin Tin, offers itself to an easy-to-grip emotionality and to see the animal wandering, together with other similar ones, in arid landscapes devastated by brutality of the conflict evokes far more suggestive pages, only to then settle down on a more canonical development that adapts to the relative stereotypes.
Nothing new on the war front
Not that much from a stylistic point of view could be expected from Lynn Roth, a director who has signed little-known comedies during his career such as I will change my life (1997) e The Little Traitor (2007) and who here confirms all his mediocrity, with an almost impalpable hand as he performs the mere task of representing what is written in the screenplay, itself an adaptation of the novel by Asher Kravitz, a nature photographer of Israeli origins. The film must be acknowledged that, even without excelling, there are not even actual slip-ups at the same time, in the name of a classic themed title designed for an unpretentious spectator. The cast is both honest and not even despised, despite having to deal with characters who always seem like pawns in a phoned narrative, without being able to give too many nuances to the aforementioned. So much so that it is obviously the courageous German shepherd who steals the show, as imaginable.
Little Joshua and his family, as they belong to the Jewish community, are forced by the new laws to abandon their beloved dogs: a separation that breaks the heart of the child, who is incredibly fond of his beloved shepherd Zack. But the two will be destined to meet again, in an even more dramatic situation where their bond will be essential for the survival of both. As we told you in the review of Zack, hero dog, we are faced with a film set during the Second World War without infamy and without praise, a classic average production that relies on easy sentimentality in the relationship between the little protagonist and the animal, in an attempt to involve above all a family audience.
Because we like it
- A staging without infamy…
- … and without praise.
- The screenplay, an adaptation of a novel, does not stand out for its originality and relies on stereotypes.
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