Critics React To Louis Theroux's Latest Doc: 'LA Stories: City of Dogs'
How did the first part of Theroux's new three-parter fair with those paid to critique it?
Since his ‘Weird Weekends’ and ‘When Louis Met’ series, Louis Theroux has been synonymous with conscientiously made, responsibly executed and – above all – incredibly watchable documentaries. The latest sees him delve into the corrupt, polarized and often startling world of Hollywood, with the first episode focussing on the area’s problems with stray and violent dogs.
Louis Theroux casts a speculative eye over L.A
Generally speaking, Theroux’s exploration of L.A – where the notorious documentary man now lives – has gone down well with the critics, although some are questioning whether he’s run out of interesting stories to tell.
“Theroux used his standard faux naive technique, wandering around the south Los Angeles gangland, talking to owners with ungovernably dangerous dogs, to a woman at a pound that has to “euthanise” some of the city’s 35,000 strays a year, and to a Zen-like dog-whisperer. But, after dogs, the most obvious element was tears,” wrote Christopher Howse of The Telegraph.
One scene in City of Dogs sees Theroux confronted with a weaponised dog, trained by a man called Malcolm, who’d rather train a dog to kill than carry around a pistol. “A lesser presenter would have got straight outta Compton lickety-split,” wrote Stuart Jeffries for The Guardian, “but Theroux is made of sterner stuff. He stood his ground, even as he became a bit player in When Weaponised Dogs Attack. Truly, if someone had raised the union flag during this sequence, I'd have saluted”
And The Independent’s Ellen E Jones praised Louis’ “vast experience of American subcultures,” which, as she writes, “did enable him to provide context. When the kennel supervisor at the city dog pound demonstrated her dog discipline technique, she also explained the underlying power dynamic: “I don’t want that animal to think he can punk me, y’know?” Theroux looked alarmed. “That’s, like, prison slang,” he said. He must have picked that up in Louis Theroux: Behind Bars, or perhaps Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail.”
The much-loved documentary maker is back with more, this time from L.A
L.A Stories is part of a three-part series, which is set to continue – we assue – this Sunday (March 30) with the next instalment. “I’ve been living in Los Angeles with my family for the past year or so. It seemed a chance to explore different sides of a single place, by spending longer immersed in stories and going deeper with the subjects,” Theroux said of the new series.
“I have a love hate relationship with the city. It embodies the best and worst of America. It combines wealth and glamour with social breakdown and deep neglect. We’ve concentrated on stories that take us into the extremes of life and the extreme parts of one of the world’s great cities.”