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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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic movie! One or the very best ever made. Not for everybody. For thinking people.Published 4 days ago by Pen Name
I liked this movie. It's wise and it shows what life really is.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
If I could give zero stars, I would. This was the dumbest movie I have ever seen, and I've seen lots of movies of all genres. Do not waste your money. Read morePublished 1 month ago by lacy Williams
All the bases covered in an unbelievable subtle and lushly, weird and scholarly triumph. Psych majors should love it, if not, go back to your text books...you are not getting it!! Read morePublished 2 months ago by T
Great movie, outstanding acting and great plot. Really makes you evaluate our humanity.Published 3 months ago by AC904411