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Overall Rating
3.59

Awesome42.86%
Worth A Look: 19.05%
Just Average: 13.33%
Pretty Crappy: 3.81%
Sucks: 20.95%

8 reviews, 57 user ratings


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Dogville
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by Elaine Perrone

"Denmark's favorite shit-disturber does it again!"
5 stars

Arrogant (a word bandied about a lot in this movie), audacious, and unsettling, Dogville is a riveting, if perverse, little parable about morality and forgiveness, abuses of power and wrath, from that always-reliable misanthrope Lars von Trier.

"Set" on a nearly bare soundstage, with rudimentary props and chalked-in signposts representing a fictional hamlet in the Colorado Rockies, Dogville has been accused by some of being anti-American, a charge that seems to me to miss its point, which is about the universality of human nature. (Writer-director von Trier, an airplane-phobe who has never set foot in the U.S., admits to being a communist critical of U.S. policy and Danish involvement in the war in Iraq. He has also asserted that the story of Dogville was suggested by Denmark's restrictive immigration laws and the Brecht-Weill song "Pirate Jenny." Still, the work is a searing look at a dark side of small-town Americana, filled with all-too-uncomfortably familiar stereotypes of Ugly Americans (among them, Paul Bettany as an effete intellectual, Patricia Clarkson as the permissive mother of too many children, and Zeljko Ivanek as a rigidly conformist union truck driver and the town drunk), and featuring a closing photo montage of poverty in the U.S. set to David Bowie's "Young Americans."

Led by Nicole Kidman as the amazingly saintly Grace, a "beautiful fugitive" who stumbles into the town on the lam from mobsters, the entire cast is stellar, with Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Ben Gazzara, and Clarkson as particular standouts among the insular townspeople who hesitantly welcome, and then viciously turn on, the outsider. Perhaps most impressive of all is John Hurt as the antithesis-of-Our-Town narrator who delivers his judgmental pronouncements in mellifluous tones.

Grace also joins the ranks of the misogynistic von Trier's earlier female martyrs Selma (Bjork in Dancer in the Dark) and Bess (Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves), subjected to an escalating series of dehumanizing abasements as the men, women, and children of Dogville bare their teeth. In a striking departure from the other two, Grace's quality of mercy is finally strained to breaking in an intense denouement in which she wreaks her fiery vengeance upon the town.

Divided into nine chapters, and with a prologue, Dogville's three hours flew by for me, as riveted as I was by the unfolding of this highly stylized, if brutal, tale performed by a group of the world's most talented actors, who are all in top-notch form. Beautifully written, directed, and photographed (look for an astonishing scene, "filmed" through a blanket, of Grace escaping town in the back of an apple truck), what would be truly "un-American" would be if Dogville were to be snubbed at the 2005 Oscar ceremony.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8122&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/17/04 00:25:54
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/20/13 Jason Lan The needless narration was the worse part: the dialogue was simple enough. 1 stars
10/28/11 hurdygurdy man As a dear old friend use to say: Get the gun!! 1 stars
2/06/11 PAUL SHORTT FASCINATING, WELL ACTED EXPERIMENTAL DRAMA OF DISTURBING POWER 5 stars
11/28/10 dick trombley A highly creative allegory, misunderstood by most. 5 stars
8/11/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
5/16/08 Remi Great style, great plot, great finale. 4 stars
5/12/08 Geoffrey Ms Bacall needs to lay off the Woodbines-she looks and sounds so rough. Excellent film! 5 stars
5/13/07 David Pollastrini Boooooring! 2 stars
4/15/07 Bitchflaps Fascinating. I wrote off Von Trier's films in the past and I'm tempted to reassess them now 5 stars
6/14/06 William Goss Lengthy yet rich, with a solid performance by Kidman and a refreshingly bold climax. 4 stars
11/27/05 Jane it is great 5 stars
8/25/05 Paperazzo no special effects, cool movie, something different 1 stars
8/21/05 mmm naka doesn´t know about movies 5 stars
6/19/05 chris. that was really fun 5 stars
3/11/05 maria magnificent expierence 5 stars
3/08/05 Uncle Phucker First ten mintues you'll have to excuse. It's well worth the strange ride. Best film 2003! 5 stars
3/06/05 ad awesome 5 stars
1/10/05 allen stott great movie!!!! 4 stars
12/01/04 Lach MacDonald The slow narrative pace doesn't suit the TV-reflex attention span; so what? 5 stars
11/28/04 Movie Lover This film was unbearable. 1 stars
11/21/04 Dragana ATR, this is ART! I did not notice that lasted 3 hours 5 stars
11/21/04 ad nice twist 4 stars
11/12/04 Naka Nope! 1 stars
10/31/04 Anne-Marike revealing. the plain scenerie puts an emphasis on the character's inner development 5 stars
10/17/04 Natasha Theobald amazing storytelling; cynical and disturbing with a bedrock of truth 4 stars
10/16/04 Charlene Javier Possibly one of the best films of all time... 5 stars
10/13/04 fiona interesting 4 stars
9/12/04 leeleeD. Brilliant. I'm stunned. 5 stars
8/31/04 psycho dwarf Lars' sardonicism is overbearing in this trojan horse for polemical debate. 3 stars
8/30/04 A F Pretty good. Kidman makes me sick. Someone put her down. 4 stars
8/27/04 tatum It's not anti-American, it's anti-viewer, anti-entertaining, and Von Trier sucks! 1 stars
7/17/04 legend An interesting film about the nature of people and their dark side. 4 stars
6/15/04 Roxana It makes a few memorable points about human nature, about our fear of anything foreign. 4 stars
5/10/04 Palme d' Or The movie was a bit too stilted, but it did have some worth, and Nicole Kidman was great. 4 stars
5/01/04 nniedzielski It took me a few days after seeing this to realize what an effect it had on me. 4 stars
4/30/04 Cameron Slick aargh 2 stars
4/18/04 Monster W. Kung Von Trier's never been to the US yet thinks they suck huh? Well I've never seen this movie! 1 stars
4/14/04 von More about humanity than America, and the best movie to come out of this decade yet. 5 stars
4/12/04 zig it make you think about humanity itself 5 stars
4/03/04 freya Kay Interesting view of how others may view America. It is about saving amd than enslaving 4 stars
4/01/04 mark boring 1 stars
3/28/04 Xander long, weird, confusing (chalk?) but somewhat engaging 3 stars
3/21/04 Anarchy Azmi orang putih semua bodoh amerika bangang 5 stars
2/13/04 Jack Daniels Film for aspiring intellectuals that want to believe they've understood something profound 1 stars
1/27/04 irena overelongated, moralistic, over-explanatory, pathetic and morbid exaggeration 2 stars
1/27/04 NIcole Awesome, brilliant and Kidman is sublime 5 stars
1/23/04 Carina Romer All I can say is, he has done it again! I love his symbolism! 5 stars
1/20/04 Betty White Breathtaking cinematography and rich performances, especially from Kidman & Bacall. 5 stars
1/18/04 Akilis Awesome, brilliant and Kidman is sublime 5 stars
1/18/04 Lilo Great Script. Brilliant actors. Katharsis. Insight. I watched it 3 times (until now). 5 stars
1/16/04 Elendil Shaky camera. Good script. 4 stars
1/13/04 miky finally someone proves that comercially movies must be kicked out. 5 stars
1/13/04 Helen Bradley Kidman excellent weird but great script 5 stars
1/01/04 christopher pathetic 1 stars
12/29/03 John Bale Bleak fable set as theatre, good acting, poor camerawork. Nicole sounds like Marilyn M. 4 stars
12/17/03 Kyle *Yawn* WAY too damn long. 2 stars
11/20/03 Reini Urban This is how theater should be. masterpiece 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Mar-2004 (R)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2003




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