Dogville starring Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Harriet Andersson, Jean-Marc Barr Extraordinary The latest galvanizing and controversial film from Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, The Kingdom), Dogville uses ingenious theatricality to tell the Depression-era story of Grace (Nicole Kidman, The Others), a beautiful fugitive who stumbles onto a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains. Spurred on by Tom (Paul Bettany, Master and Commander), who fancies himself the towns moral guide, the citizens of Dogville first resist Grace, then embrace her, then resent and torment her--little realizing they will pay a price for their selfish brutality. The town is indicated by fragments of building and chalk outlines on a soundstage floor, stylishly pointing to the movies roots in classic plays (particularly Thornton Wilders Our Town and Friedrich Durrenmatts The Visit). Several critics have stridently attacked Dogville as anti-American, but the movies dark, compelling view applies as easily to Rwanda, Bosnia, the Middle East, or pretty much anywhere in the world. Also featuring Lauren Bacall, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Stellan Skarsgârd, Chloe Sevigny, and many more. --Bret Fetzer This is about as far away as one can get from a feel good flick, yet it is undeniably powerful and delivers a most difficult subject to ponder that really is one of the central themes to the human experience: the delicate balance between good and evil and how one navigates in the waters of extreme polarity. Director Lars von Trier has created a uniquely affecting tale that is played out on a single soundstage with o nly the most basic of non-human elements so that the focus can be exclusively on the relationships of the people in Dogville. And it is this intense development of the dynamics of the characters interactions that makes this film the powerful statement it is. What we see in the gradually developing story of Dogville is how noble traits such as good intentions, giving, forgiveness and long suffering - when taken to the extreme - can actually empower evil and destroy oneself. It seems to me the message in this film is that self love is equally important as love for others. And so, we are taught an important lesson of Balance here. This issue comes to a dramatic pinnacle with Graces conversation with her gangster-boss father (James Caan) near the end of the film in the back of his limo. They both represent arrogance in polarized opposite ways: hers of the lightside; his of the dark. In the end, Grace chooses to balance the scales in order to find her own peace and resolution for the horrors inflicted upon her. We witness karmic debt being cancelled as Dogville goes up in flames. In my sense of fairness, it couldnt have ended any other way, and be truthful. I say this not to condone the actions she ultimately chooses here: the movie is what it is. Its a lesson in just how out of balance one can become in trying to love others that we actually become that which we hate: In Graces case, her altruism taken to the extreme ultimately transforms her into violent retribution. We are left to speculate that she could have created a much different and more humane outcome simply by not allowing herself to become the doormat for all those who did indeed exploit her. That would have not been possible unless she played the role she played. Had she embraced more self respect and defined her boundaries, the nasty outcome would most probably have been aborted entirely. What we see played out here is the natural result of embracing extremes of polarity. The truth (and sanity) lies in a healthy balance between the two. This is a most unique and thought-provocative film about what it means to be human and live in the cosmic soup of good and evil that we find ourselves in. I believe that most people desire to be good and kind to their neighbor. However, there are healthy limits to how much abuse one can take and if we do not also be kind to ourselves, we are out of balance and we end up with a mini (or major)-Dogville on our hands. This is an issue that is central to everyones life to some degree and one we must all come to resolution with eventually. In contemplating this further, was it not her own fear that inspired her playing the role of doormat? She wanted to be saved. THAT was her foundational error. Nicole Kidmans acting in this film is probably the best of her career. She is convincing as the archetypical altruistic martyr as she continually chooses to overlook the bad behaviour of those around her, making allowances for their weaknesses and deliberately forgives those who exploit her. Excellent also is Paul Bettany as Tom, who is also an archetype of an all too common character: seemingly kind and good-hearted at first, but when push comes to shove is revealed to be a weak, spineless, self -serving wimp with no real integrity. With Tom, goodness is really all just appearance. There are many archetypes of dysfunctional humans in this film... it is indeed a cross section of humanity. (May God have mercy on us all). Director Trier developes all characters with equal skill as he weaves the tale in layer upon layer of psychological intrigue. This film is not easy to watch, for its really a study of the dark side of humanity. But I think it is a necessary one. It is also a rather long film, and it did take me a little while for it to grab and sustain my attention, due to the unorthodox theatrical setting which took some getting used to just because it so different. But due to the many excellent reviews here I persevered and Im glad I did for once I allowed myself to become part of the Dogville world, I was quite affected. Dogville reveals itself to be a powerful metaphor for the entire world and all of humanity. Yes, we indeed live in a realm of the predator and the prey, and it seems the thing that matters most is not the ultimate outcome but how we choose to navigate our way through the treacherous waters: how fairly we treat ourselves, as equally as how fairly we treat others. Substance worth pondering indeed. For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: Dogville starring Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Harriet Andersson, Jean- Marc Barr - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!
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