77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
A humorous look at faith,
This review is from: Dogma (DVD)
As a pair of two lapsed Catholics, My husband and I rented this movie on the recommendation of another catholic friend of ours. From the moment they unveiled the hilarious "Buddy Christ" to the moment the ending credits appeared we were rolling on the floor howling with laughter as only two people who spent years in catholic school could.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were great as two fallen angels banished by God to hell (Wisconsin) trying to get back into Heaven through a loophole in Catholic dogma. Which would unfortunately destroy the world because it would prove God fallible. Chris Rock was a very funny 13th Apostle named Rufus and Selma Hayek's role as a feisty muse name Serendipity was also good. Jason Mews and Kevin Smith himself in their perennial roles as "Jay" and "Silent Bob" were a scream as two unlikely "prophets" sent to aid the last Scion played by Linda Fiorentino. My favorite performance was that of Alan Rickman who played the surly and much put upon Metatron (or the voice of God). He portrayed the long suffering character of God's right hand angel with an excellent mix of irony, dry humor, and compassion. His fiery entrance scene was classically funny!
I felt that the weakest performance was that of Fiorentino's who played the main character Bethany, the last Scion charged with the mission of stopping the renegade angels. While she did a good job, there was something that seemed slightly forced in her portrayal of a catholic (who worked in an abortion clinic by the way) struggling with her beliefs just going through the motions of faith. The sarcastic lines lacked some bite and her expressions seemed a bit contrived. Her performance improved in the middle of the movie during her scene with Rickman after she discovers her true identity.
Overall, I felt that Dogma was not about bashing the Catholic church, but about some of the funny things about organized religion and faith. Smith touches on a number of different issues here, and the humor was a great way of dealing with the touchy and explosive subject of religion.
Most critics I suspect were offended by the language, but if you've seen one of Kevin Smith's movies before, that's to be expected. Sometimes you have to look past the messenger to see the message. Other critics sited implausible plot, wordy, or the always elegant "it just sucks". One critic bashed Smith for assuming that everyone was Catholic!
Those that thought the movie bashed Catholicism didn't read into what Smith was saying. Selma Hayek summed it up perfectly "You people don't celebrate your faith. You mourn it." Loosen up people, having a sense of humor about it is part of celebrating your faith.
I agree that the dialogue got a bit wordy, but I suspect that was for the benefit of those who didn't have a background in Catholicism. If you filtered out some of the conversational meandering and vulgar interjections by the trash mouthed "prophet" Jay, you'll find some interesting and thought provoking gems in there. As for an implausible plot...hello! We're talking religion here folks, and I think that few people would agree that the Bible is necessarily a wellspring realistic and plausible plots. Religion is about leaps of faith and if you can't handle that, then you won't get the meaning behind the movie.
The critics in the "it just sucks" camp I suspect aren't very patient with the subject of "two hours of Catholic mythology" and are more comfortable with the secular subjects of Smith's other movies (romance, shopping, drugs and the like). Hey, I don't like football, so am I going to complain that the writers of The Replacements and Remember the Titans assumed that everyone in the world enjoys football? No, I'm simply not going to watch movies about football...problem solved. The name of the movie is Dogma, it should give you a clue. And if you don't know what dogma means, look it up.
So here's a warning to all...if you have no tolerance for organized religion, so called Catholic mythology, occasional potty humor (literally), profanity, or you have no sense of humor on the subject of religion, then don't watch this movie. You be disappointed or angry.
If you are a little bit more open minded, I invite you to try out this wonderfully funny movie.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 18, 2012, 9:37:52 PM PDT
Bruce G. Taylor says:
What do I do if I'm an atheist?
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2015, 4:38:24 PM PST
Robert L. Stevens says:
Very well put, and great summation of the movie. However you
Eft out one minute detail as Kevin himself pointed out at the beginning of the movie. This is a comedy and even "God has a sense of humor just take a look at the Platupus for example."
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2015, 6:18:47 PM PST
Bruce G. Taylor says:
Robert L. Stevens:
Very true, but the platypus and the echidna, both native to Australia, are simply classified as being primitive mammals which laid eggs. yet were warm blooded, fur bearing and suckled their young, and in the evolutionary line, preceded the marsupials. To those who insist that there are no transitional forms supporting evolution, there they are, still living and breathing.
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