Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dogville (2003)

Lions Gate Films
Directed by Lars von Trier
My rating: 2 stars out of 4
(DVD, Lions Gate)

A woman on the run from gangsters ends up in an isolated town in the Rocky Mountains. The jaded residents reluctantly agree to hide her but only if she performs daily chores for them. The police regularly show up asking questions, so they demand extra work to keep hiding her. She gets raped by one of them, but instead of pity she becomes the sex slave of most of the men in town, rejecting the one man who truly loves her. She gets threatened by a jealous wife and eventually ratted out to the gangsters. Their arrival to claim her turns into a surreal, violent climax. Interesting if somewhat melodramatic story has one major flaw: it takes place on spare theatrical sets. While this may put the actors out front, it also results in some bizarre situations, like the rape scene that takes place in plain sight of the other actors since the walls between them are purely imaginary. The ending is both pretentious and repulsive. At nearly 3-hours, it's an ambitious but ultimately failed attempt to combine experimental theater and cinema.

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