Coming to theatres today, Friday, July 3: STRAY DOG
Debra Granik’s profile of a Vietnam vet debuted at last year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, where it claimed the best doc award. Its extensive fest appearances include New York, New Orleans, Zurich, Hamptons, BFI London, Hot Springs Doc, Indie Memphis, Stockholm, Film Columbia, Zagreb Dox, Cleveland, Sarasota, Nashville, and Jeonju, among others.
Granik’s titular subject, whose real name is Ron Hall, is a southern Missouri biker who runs an RV park. Despite his gruff exterior, Hall displays a deep generosity of spirit, counseling fellow veterans, attending military funerals of strangers, advising his aimless granddaughter about her future, and creating a welcoming environment for his new wife, Alicia, and her twin teenage sons, who eventually move from their native Mexico to join their mother only to be surprised at the limits in the so-called land of opportunity. Taking a strictly observational approach, Granik allows Hall’s personality and background – and the lasting impact of his two tours of duty in Vietnam – to emerge unhurriedly. The result is a patient, telling portrait of a warrior bearing the invisible scars of his military service, and a slice of Americana that becomes more complex as the film develops.