A Boy & His Dog (1975, USA)

I should be more aware of “cult” movies. I heard that “A Boy & His Dog” is one and that it is a post-apocalyptic film. These two factoids justified for me for renting it. I wish I knew more about it before I viewed it. For example the alternative title “Psycho Boy and His Killer Dog” would have warned me to watch out not to get too attached to the main characters. I kept hoping to find decency in either the boy or his dog. I was misled and halfway through the movie I thought I found what I was looking for. But having seen the culmination I know now that the director’s stark vision of humans being driven only by food and sex drives was not softened by mundane values of morality.

Boy/DogOn the surface of the post-nuclear holocaust Earth nothing else seems to matter. The people living underground, however, attempt to maintain the semblance of a traditional American society. They fail and not just because all the males down there are infertile. They fail, because they took the worst facades and features of democracy and turned it into a nightmare. The movie turned upside down what is traditionally believed to be at the top of our psyche and what is at the bottom. The food/sex drive is the basis of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but here that’s what is on the surface (of the planet.) venturing into the depth, however we find a society that is maintaining its polite functions and rendering them meaningless without the ability to reproduce. If that’s what is at the bottom, no wonder that society as a whole is considered suicidal.

I appreciate the movie’s critique of our society. I like the idea of a smart telepathic dog teaching a simple, uneducated boy and dictating him what to do. But the way women were treated, thought of and depicted is too far from my views for making the movie enjoyable. Not to mention the somewhat unexpected ending. That is not just gross, but questions any moral lesson the movie might have wanted to reach. If that’s the lens I am supposed to view the whole creation, then I am sorry, that’s not aligned with my post-apocalyptic vision

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