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Saving Shiloh (PG)

Release Date: May 12th, 2006 (AMC Empire 25) by New Dog Distribution.
The Cast: Scott Wilson, Gerald McRaney, Jason Dolley, Ann Dowd, Kyle Chavarria, Liberty Smith, Taylor Momsen, Jordan Garrett, Bonnie Bartlett, Kari.
Directed by Sandy Tung.

BASIC PREMISE: A young boy named Marty (Dolley) and his dog Shiloh investigate a murder mystery while befriending Judd (Wilson), Shiloh’s former abusive owner.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Saving Shiloh has plenty of adventure and drama to keep both young and old viewers wide awake. The plot includes an uncomplicated murder mystery which adds some tension, but not nearly as much as the challenging relationship that Marty develops with Judd. Most of the townspeople immediately suspect Judd of being involved in the murder of a man he had a fight with the night before the man disappeared. Even though Judd had once abused Shiloh and initially seems like a mean-spirited individual, Marty wants to bring out the nice qualities in him to prove to everyone that he’s not such a bad guy after all. This special bond between the two becomes the real adventure and drama. Scott Wilson gives a very convincing and heartfelt performance as Judd. The other standout performance is actually by the dog Kari that plays the adorable, smart Shiloh. If there were Oscars for dogs, Kari would be nominated for sure. Screenwriter Dale Rosenblum breathes life into all the characters. Unlike in recent family film Hoot, the true-to-life script feels pure, wholesome and doesn’t rely on juvenile, low-brow humor which feels like a breath of fresh air. Director Sandy Tung also shows skill by keeping the pace moving at an appropriately brisk pace and provides plenty of eye candy with the picturesque natural scenery.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The powerful, moving message which underlies the relationship between Marty and Judd is that compassion and tolerance are important qualities to have in any kind of relationship. Just like Marty says in the last line of the film: if you open your heart, anything can happen. The same can be said for opening one’s mind to look beyond stereotypes and rumors—which is exactly what Marty does when he befriends Judd. By the sunny conclusion to the Shiloh trilogy, both Marty and Judd manage to learn from one other and to mature in their own separate ways.



IN A NUTSHELL: An adventurous, wholesome and heartfelt film for the whole family to enjoy!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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