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A Movie To Watch | Johnny Mad Dog (2008)

In Movies on 21/08/2012 at 11:34 PM

-“No die, no Rest”

 -“You don’t wanna die…..Don’t be born” 

Every now and then I stumble across interesting movies and my first thought is always “how comes the whole world doesn’t know about this?” Johnny Mad Dog is a French feature film (adapted from a 2005 novel of the same name by  Emmanuel Dongala) that follows a troupe of child soldiers during the last 2 or 3 days of the Second Liberian Civil War. In three words it’s; shocking, raw and mind-blowing. I really don’t know where to start? How about I hit you with a bit of background info?

Liberia is a country situated in the west of mother Africa, like it’s fellow West-African countries; Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau, Liberia is no stranger to civil war. In fact Liberia has endured two long civil wars, the first one from 1989 to 1996 and the second one (which the film is set in)  from 1999 to 2003. A lot of movies would focus on victims of war but Johnny Mad Dog looks at the people who are inflicting the pain, the people who are killing their own countrymen, the people who are raping and looting and terrorising whoever does not stand with them  all because they can. The thing is the people we are talking about are children from the age of 10 to 15 who have had their childhood stolen from them and have been brainwashed and manipulated by their elders to do the things no child dreams of. This movie made me realise that these children are victims of the war too, of course not in the same way or extent as civilians but victims never the less.


The most interesting thing about this movie apart from the fact that it’s amazing is the fact that it is a movie about child soldiers played by former child soldiers who fought in the war that the movie is set in. This is probably why everything in it is so real & raw! The kids have actually lived through it so they know how everything went which gives you the impressions that the events in the movie are 100% realistic. This is how it would have happened. It’s easy to forget however that the the kids in the movie are only actors, who are bringing their personal experiences to life so even thought they have done what they did in reality the person that they play are only a fictional characters. They have strange names, war names like Johnny Mad Dog, No Good Advice, Butterfly, Chicken Hair. Very theoretical names. They dress even more dramatically, one of them actually fights in a wedding dress. And most importantly war is all they know. As one of the actors says in a scene “No. I can’t leave my weapon….. My weapon is my mother and my father”. Johnny Mad Dog is their powerful story. I won’t say no more, if you want to know, go see for your self. Promise it won’t be a waste of time.

Seriously just go on youtube and watch this movie and make sure that it has English subtitles. If you want a break from the norm, if you want a cinematic masterpiece filled with flawless storytelling and even more flawless acting, if you want something that is real……. watch Johnny Mad Dog. It’s a movie that will stay with you for life.

  1. This sounds like a valid and–I would say “interesting,” except that that sounds so lame–strongly evocative film experience, and I think that I would like to see it. It’s actually more likely, though, that I will get to read the book first. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!


    • Your welcome. If you read the book tell me how it is. I plan to get it but I have so much stuff on my reading list that I won’t get my hands on it for a long while. I bought War & Peace the other day. May God help me get through that.


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