DVD Review: Dogville

A lesson learned.

What is that lesson you ask? The lesson of if you really can't stand a director's work, you probably should stop giving him chances. M. Night Shaymalan is a good example of this. He made a wonderful film in The Sixth Sense, an ok film in Unbreakable, and then ruined everything else. I've stopped giving him chances, and now I stop with Lars Von Trier. Von Trier's directing has always come off a bit pretentious to me. I think he tries way to hard to make his films feel "arty." I know that's a broad statement, but some directors (Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino) just have a way of shooting things and making them feel brilliant. Von Trier shoves his long shots and slow panning of his stage down our throats. I hated Antichrist. Hated Dancer in the Dark. The only reason I picked up Dogville is because I've been on a bit of a Paul Bettany kick lately and figured something with him, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard wouldn't be so bad.

Grace (Nicole Kidman) is on the run from the mob. She stumbles upon the seemingly solemn Dogville, a small town in the rocky mountains. She meets Tom, (Paul Bettany) an aspiring writer her urges her to stay. Tom also longs for the approval of the citizens of Dogville. He wants to be their "leader" so to speak. He starts by bringing her to a town meeting and telling everyone that they need to help her. That they prove how kind hearted they are by hiding her and allowing her to assist them with odd jobs here and there. After awhile Grace earns their trust and they allow her to stay. Soon police slap a wanted poster with her picture on it in Dogville and Tom decides her workload should be increased since they are essentially harboring a fugitive, even though they don't believe she's done the things she's being accused of. She essentially becomes their slave. She gets chained up with a bell and raped by literally every man in the town except Tom.

Granted they spare us by not showing all the rapes, but what really annoys me is that all men are being portrayed as sex hungry animals with no respect for women. It's the same problem I had with Sucker Punch, not every guy in the world is a rapist waiting for his moment to strike, but these people apparently think so. The women aren't portrayed any better, they're bitter bitches who actually blame Grace for being raped. The mood in the town changes so drastically it's hardly believable. *Spoilers ahead* When this nearly 3 hour film ends, Grace has everyone killed. Sure it was satisfying to get rid of everyone in the town, (but was shooting the baby necessary?) but it makes me wonder why she put up with all of it in the first place.

I got what the film was trying to say and I know it has a strong fan base, but I flat out didn't like it. It wasn't interesting enough, and it just verifies the fact that I cannot enjoy a Lars Von Trier movie. Not that I'm missing much..

Recommended: No

Grade: D

Memorable Quote: "I think the world would do better without Dogville." - Grace (Nicole Kidman)


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