Writer: Lynn Roth (Screenplay) Asher Kravitz (Novel)
Starring: Ayelet Zurer, Ken Duken, August Maturo, Levente Molnar, Lois Robbins, Rebeka Rea
Plot: SHEPHERD is based on the award-winning and bestselling Israeli novel, “The Jewish Dog,” by Asher Kravitz. Kaleb, a beloved German Shepherd, is separated from his Jewish family when the Nuremberg Laws are enacted in WWII Berlin. He is adopted by an SS Officer who trains him to attack and round up Jews at a concentration camp. Kaleb is well cared for and good at his job until one day when he is distracted by a familiar scent. His original master, a young boy named Joshua, has arrived as a prisoner of the camp. Kaleb has not lost his loyalty to Joshua who finds solace in secretly visiting his dog at night. Joshua’s life is at risk. Together they escape the camp and after months of near-death experiences, they are found by partisans who help Joshua make safe passage to Israel.
Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Heart Warming
Story: Shepherd: The Hero Dog starts when young Joshua (Maturo) and his family have a new litter of German Shepherds, which Joshua becomes extreme close to one Kaleb, only when the Nazis start to take over their home town of Nuremberg, the Jewish family must rehome the dogs after becoming prohibited from owning pets.
Being rehomed, Kaleb finds himself alone is the city crumbling, with his original family long gone, he becomes a stray Kaleb is captured and trained by a German solider to hunt Jews and work on the prison camps, only for Joshua to arrive at the camp, with Kaleb leading him to freedom away from the camp.
Thoughts on Shepherd: The Hero Dog
Characters – Joshua is the young Jewish boy who becomes close to a German Shepherd puppy, the two have a bond which gets broken when Joshua’s parents are forced into getting rid of the dogs. Joshua finds himself separated from his family in a concentration camp. He is assigned to look after the animals, which just so happens to include Kaleb. Kaleb is the dog that gets confused about being rehomed and only wants to get back to his home, his family and Joshua. He thrives as a stray and looks to do the right thing if he sees people in danger. He is trained to hunt Jews, until he wants to save Joshua from the camp, where he knows his fate. We do meet the solider that trains Kaleb, as well as other people who support Joshua in the camp.
Performances – August Maturo as young Joshua is the strongest performer, even though most of the work in the film comes from seeing the dog’s interactions, nobody is bad in this film no matter which location we meet them through the film.
Story – The story here follows a dog taken away from his family, trained by Nazis before saving his former owner from a concentration camp. The story does show how the war affected a dog, we know the devastation the human factor had, but spinning this to an animal’s point of view, we get to see something new, we see the bond a dog will have with a child and shows just how it could never be broken. We do have strange few moments of memories, which show how the dog will remember good, even from a bad person.
Settings – The film uses the locations to show us the different chapters of Kaleb’s life, while we know the locations would have a darker side to them, which isn’t shown to the full effect in the film.
Scene of the Movie – The escape.
Final Thoughts – This is a heart-warming tale of one boy and his dog during one of the darkest moments in human history.
Overall: Nice Dog Drama.
Signature Entertainment presents Shepherd: The Hero Dog on Digital HD from June 29th