catapult magazine

catapult magazine




Mar 23 2005
07:25 pm


] is ambitious, the first of a proposed trilogy by Van Trier that exposes the ‘real’ America. Give me a break. If ambition were the entirety of the craft of directing, then Van Trier would succeed. But that’s not enough. Here, Van Trier spits in the face of a nation he is not even from, spewing forth his vile as some sort of critique of American hypocrisy. The setting, which reminds us of [i:d43b21b088]Our Town[/i:d43b21b088], becomes increasingly grating and unabashedly linked to Van Trier’s hammer of a message. Surrounded by darkness, save for the studio lights, the town is composed of chalk-lined outlines of buildings. The lack of walls add a transparency that continuously nudges you and shouts, “Get it? We don’t keep secrets here! Aren’t I clever?!” The chapter format lends nothing to the film but additional eye-rolling—in fact, if you manage to endure the labor of hate through its entirety, you may find your gaze permanently locked in a sarcastic eye-rolled fashion for a week thereafter. The character of Grace undergoes a transformation that is unbelievable, similar to the way in which we are asked to suspend our belief unreasonably in many instances. The most offensive aspect of [i:d43b21b088]Dogma[/i:d43b21b088] is not its message (although what’s Van Trier’s doing ripping America for?), but the manner in which it is so carelessly displayed. In dire need of an editor, a reconfigured set design, and a bit more subtlety and depth, [i:d43b21b088]Dogma[/i:d43b21b088] gives proof that the oft-overused word “pretentious” still packs a punch in the most urgent cases. Pretentious and dull. Not to mention a cheap shot. Thank heavens Nicole Kidman had a falling out with Van Trier.

  • out of **** (for certain performances, ambition without execution)