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Dogville

3.1 out of 5 stars 618 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Grace arrives in the isolated town of Dogville, on the run from gangsters. The townspeople agree to hide her. However, when outsiders start looking for the fugitive, the locals make demands of Grace in exchange for the risk of harboring her. But Grace has a secret and it is a dangerous one. Dogville may regret it ever decided to bare its teeth.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Harriet Andersson, Jean-Marc Barr
  • Directors: Lars von Trier
  • Writers: Lars von Trier
  • Producers: Anja Grafers, Bettina Brokemper, Els Vandevorst, Gillian Berrie, Jonas Frederiksen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004
  • Run Time: 178 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (618 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002DB52M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,344 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dogville" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Von Trier has never been to America and has been known to have said that he is afraid to visit the U.S. With this in mind, it seems a little audacious if not viciously self-indulgent to make a film about the ugliness of human nature set in an American village.
Critics have pounced on this feature of the movie, accusing von Trier of anti-Americanism. I feel such paranoid jibes completely miss the point: although Dogville is set in a fictional village in the Rockies during the Depression-era, it really could be any place, any time. It is anti-human-ugliness. The tagline reads "A quiet little town not far from here", and the sparse stage set reinforces that point. The viewer's imagination is meant to fill in the gaps, making Dogville their home town for nearly three hours.
The theme veers around Grace (Nicole Kidman) arrives, seeking shelter from pursuing gangsters, the natives are reluctant to help. With the assistance of a local 'philosopher' (played by Paul Bettany), she eventually persuades the inhabitants to relent, and they grant her a two week trial period. During the fortnight, she manages to win the villagers over by performing good deeds, but gradually they begin to take advantage of her kindness and the rot sets in.
This is an extremely long film, but it is definitely worth the effort. It is an allegory of staggering proportions, it deals with virtually every aspect of humanity and some of the most fundamental questions people can face, whilst maintaining a lightness of touch that makes the mental workout more than bearable. Did it have to be 3 hours? No. But nor did the Matrix or LOTR or the Titanic.
So empty the tank, order a pizza and coke, and settle down for 180 minutes of cinematic genius.
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I've gone back and forth between thinking that this film is incredibly sick and incredibly brilliant. I still can't make up my mind, so all I can say is that is the most unique film I have ever seen: a very sick and amazing film, showing the darkness of the human heart when there are no rules to protect its victim. It starts out very slow, but gets good after 30 minutes (it is nearly 3 hours long). The violence of this film surpasses Pulp Fiction, but in a much more subtle way (if I was to say any more I would give the whole film away). The symbolism is worthy of analysis...a film student could write for days about what they see in this film...and afterwards, your mind will be racing and trying to make sense of it all. This is, in my opinion, the best work Nicole Kidman has ever done.
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DOGVILLE is unlike almost any film you will see. Writer Director Lars von Trier once again has dared to pry open the truths concealed by conventional facades to examine the human condition, the plight of human survival in a world populated by intimidated individuals who only define their public identity by affiliating/identifying with the Norm. In so many ways this story with a Prologue and Nine Chapters is a morality play ad as such it is piercingly poignant and superbly constructed. This film is a minimalist film: the 'sets' are diagrammed lines on the floor, the props are spare, the action all taking lace on a sound stage that appears like a Joseph Cornell box.

The Depression Years in America, a time of gangsters, poverty and minimal communication of world events to the tiny towns on the Midwest. Dogville is a rural small town in the Midwest peopled by what appear to be good folk. Into this scene enters a beautiful girl on the run Grace (a luminous Nicole Kidman) who seems to be in flight from gangsters. The town's philosopher Tom (Paul Bettany in an extraordinary performance) finds Grace, hides her in the town's mineshaft (over the door is the inscription 'Speak the Truth'...), and convinces the townsfolk to harbor her. In exchange for this kindness Grace must do some work for each of them everyday as a gesture of good will. When the police come looking for Grace later, the townsfolk still protect her but the price is doubling the amount of work she must do in reparation. Slowly this town of kind appearing folk become wary of Grace, start lies about her, abuse her sexually and physically, and eventually fetter her as their prisoner.
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Those who disliked this film obviously cannot appreciate an excellent portrayal of the ugly truth involved with human nature. Sorry, but if you're looking for an action-packed regurgitation of the popular Hollywood editions, then continue on your search. This film is very "play-like", as someone mentioned. The narrative and lack of 'specific' scenery allows you to not only to see it all, but to focus on the more important aspects of the plot. I actually loved this creative style.

Filled with raw emotion and compelling messages throughout, the brilliant cast of Dogville brings viewers into a strange, yet relatable setting allowing us to experience the overwhelming emotions that are based in reality. 3 hours of a captivating, and at times painful, story proved to be well worth viewing.

Through Nicole Kidman's performance, one is able to experience the feelings involved with unfavorable circumstances; pain, depression, desperation, humility, forgiveness, vulnerability, understanding, betrayal, and the want and need of human connection.

*potential spoiler*
The ending is so well orchestrated that you can lose yourself along with the previous 2.5 hours once the main character comes to her newfound perspective. Although she suffered innumerable accounts of torture and relentless episodes of pain and grief, in the end she doesn't act out of vengeance or retribution… she simply sees the blatant truth; that some people just can't, and (for the benefit of humanity) shouldn't be saved.

Simple yet incredible ending; Grace's explanation of the dog's fate. LOVE IT!!

Captivating and absolutely beautiful.
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