Hounddog is the Dakota Fanning rape movie. Being known as such, is that a curse or blessing?
Deborah Kampmeier wrote and directed the movie Hounddog, which of course stars young Dakota Fanning. The supporting cast is notable as well with David Morse and Robin Wright Penn being recognizable. The story is about a young backwoods girl with a complicated relationship with her father, father’s lady friend, and her grandmother. This girl also has an extreme passion for all things Elvis Presley and when she discovers he is coming to town she seeks out tickets. What little innocence she may have hoped to hold on to though, might just be compromised to get those tickets. Did I sum this movie up well? Not Really.
Hounddog is one of those movies where you look at the back of the DVD box and they’ve got several long paragraphs of information trying to tell you what it is about. This is generally a bad sign. Early press for the movie didn’t do it any favors either as it stirred controversy on the festival circuit. Yes, there were people who called the movie vile due to the raping of its young star, but they were also labeling it a stinker for other reasons. I read many an article about how critics were too harsh to judge a cut of the movie that was not final and other excuses, but more or less early press pre-warned me that Hounddog might be a mess.
Dakota Fanning is a very talented actress and this movie only helps bolster that praise. However, the movie itself is indeed the stinker I was warned about. It slowly oozes with character development that spreads in different directions not necessarily supportive of each other. I questioned decisions made by the characters in different parts of the movie in so much that I’m not sure they would have done certain things. Nothing major enough to ruin the movie but the movie is ruined by its boring-ness any way. Dakota Fanning runs around in the dirt barefoot, sings Hounddog many times over, gets raped, and then has some bad dreams. Did I just sum it up better than before? Not really.
It’s not and yet it is hard to pick at Hounddog. I just did not care for it at all and sort of land at the crossroads of being a blowhard movie critic itching to make wise-ass jokes and not saying anything at all. Yes there are messages within about coming of age, and the blues, and your soul, and life, and snakes, and family, and this, and that, and the kitchen sink but me not liking the movie isn’t the same as me “not getting it,” if you happen to watch it and find it moving in some way don’t bothering throwing that one at me. I mean, all of that is the ooze and the mess, right?
Being known as the Dakota Fanning rape movie is actually a blessing for Hounddog , in my opinion, because this controversial aspect is what will draw in the curious and earn the movie some dough. Unfortunately for those who are fans of either rape or Dakota Fanning, your dough, should you have plopped it down for Hounddog, could have been better spent elsewhere.