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Dogville (2003)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 163
Fresh: 114 | Rotten: 49

A challenging piece of experimental filmmaking.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 15

A challenging piece of experimental filmmaking.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 53,784

My Rating

Movie Info

Set in a small fictional town in the U.S. during the 1930s, Lars von Trier's Dogville was filmed in a studio with a minimal set and features narration by John Hurt. On the run from a group of gangsters, Grace (Nicole Kidman) arrives in the small mining town of Dogville. Town philosopher Tom Edison (Paul Bettany) takes her in and strikes a deal with her: She'll work for the townsfolk in exchange for a safe place to hide; after two weeks the people will vote for her to either stay or go. Grace

Aug 24, 2004


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All Critics (164) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (114) | Rotten (49) | DVD (21)

Ambitious, intriguing but fatally self-important ...

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all of "Dogville's" strengths -- its powerful performances, the ingenious staging, how quickly and completely the audience accepts its stylized reality -- its take-home message is, ultimately, measly.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's nothing static about [Von Trier's] technique, but everything else about the movie is dreary and closed off.

August 7, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Magazine | Comment (1)
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What Lars von Trier has achieved is avant-gardism for idiots.

August 1, 2004 | Comments (4)
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fascinating for a while but, in the end, just sleep-inducing.

May 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a tough sit through tough questions.

May 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Director] Trier attempts to pass this off as art, when really it's just ridiculous.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Thought provoking with its dense and intense themes, Dogville highlights the best and the worst in us all; the emotions it agitates are hard to shake.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

These elements come together to form a movie that is clinically ironic but also unique, inspired, and quite sublime.

June 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

This minimalist, digital-video-shot film has its own cinematic flash and thunder, and does things only movies can do.

July 30, 2007 Full Review Source:

An exceptionally literary film that at the same time employs extremely theatrical set design. Leave it to the mad genius of Denmark to kick cinema's ass once again.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

After about an hour, the novelty wears off, and you're aching to see an actual animal and real shrubs. After two hours, you feel disappointed when you realize that this wouldn't even make a good play. After three hours, it's downright infuriating.

May 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics | Comments (5)
Princeton Town Topics

Bold stylistic decisions reinforce the themes of the narrative, while a strong story and convincing performances prove equal to the task of carrying such an extended running time.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Manages to strike a poignant chord as a more general denunciation of humanity's latent tendencies for malicious selfishness.

May 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

'Rich with meaning or a sublime prank, Dogville gets to you.'

March 22, 2005 Full Review
Las Vegas Mercury

[Von Trier] portrays intense evil to make us wonder at the resilience and generosity of Grace, that 'alabaster' saint who exemplifies her name ... to a point.

December 6, 2004
Christianity Today

Almost three hours long, Dogville is a trial. But it's brilliant ...

November 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Maclean's Magazine
Maclean's Magazine

never manages to be more than a belabored shaggy dog story

September 30, 2004

aesthetically sparse and thematically audacious, the searing work of a genuine provocateur

August 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

A masterpiece.

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

Fails to meet the expectations of its own conceit.

June 4, 2004

It's the best stage play you've ever attended, and you feel as if you're right in the middle of it.

May 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Audience Reviews for Dogville

The tiny township of Dogville (population 20) reluctantly takes in a woman fleeing from gangsters, but their generosity turns into abuse as they gradually maker her into their slave. It's de Sade's "Justine" played out on the set of "Our Town." Masterful but misanthropic.
February 24, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer


Dogville's depiction of detatchment, the worthlessness of the human promise, mistrust and animalistic selfishness is incredibly moving. Nicole Kidman gives a breathtaking performance as a troubled, overly sympathetic daughter of a gangster, who ends up in the hands of a seemingly morally functioning town, where eventually she gets horribly abused and mistreated by the residents. The visually alienating design featuring no environment, or in fact sets, detatches you from the story in a way which sometimes can be quite irritating. I think the film may have worked better if it was filmed traditionally with all these traits. Lars Von Trier's choice to film it this way may have been self aware and intentional, but I didn't really think it's deliberate emptiness was working. Despite that, there is so much else to admire and love about Dogville. The script is brilliantly written, the old fashioned plot is unpredictable, and it's bizzare surrealism and unrestricted brutality is shockingly awe inspiring. As a piece of experimental film making, Lars Von Trier has crafted a masterpiece. It's got a painfully silent and relatively relaxed tone to it, which uses little to no sound effects or score whatsoever. Yet remarkably it remains dramatically engaging and involving the whole way through. All the way up to the incredibly satisfying finale. Despite all that, I don't think it's Lars' best film, but in comparison to a lot of today's art house and Hollywood features it's orientation is to be massive in terms of ambition and originality. It most certainly suceeds in that, and that is just one of the many great achievements of this marvellous independently spirited film.
August 27, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

This films stands as criticism to these horrible times we are living in and a clear picture that everything we do is never really good enough. This film will make viewers feel uncomfortable and many may very well disagree with the message it tries to bring forth... but whether they agree or not is not important because it is inevitably an undeniable truth about humanity and the evil we are capable of doing.

The lack of scenery and theater-like view of the film is strange at first but by the time Kidman is in the picture you're no longer aware of this... and if you are you will simply see that it is all for your better enjoyment of the film. This film is not to be missed and to be watched more than once as well!!!
July 14, 2012

Super Reviewer

The first time I tried to watch this I saw ART spray painted over everything by dint of the stripped down sets and, w/o knowing more or wanting to, immediately turned it off. Finally deciding to listen to whatever the raving lunatic might have to say (that's what I think when I see ART), regretting it as I did, and lo, von Trier does have something to say in this reworking of the Christ tale when an innocent stranger comes to a small town. Its intelligent, thought provoking, brave, hey, and loaded with plum talent altho, make no mistake, this is Kidman's and von Trier's show.
May 10, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Grace: I want to make this world a little better.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Tom Edison: Maybe people just regard things a criminal because they envy their success.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Tom Edison: It's quite a blow to me to see all my friends act this way--so uncivilized.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Liz Henson: Honestly, Tom, you've done it again. Made us come here to listen to a lot of nonsense. Who do you think you are? Some kind of philosopher?
    2. Tom Edison: Observant, that's what I am.
    3. Ma Ginger: Lazy, I would say.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Narrator: Grace paused. And while she did, the clouds scattered and let the moonlight through and Dogville underwent another of those little changes of light. It was if the light, previously so merciful and faint, finally refused to cover up for the town any longer.
    – Submitted by Alice L (16 months ago)
    1. Grace: You can't stand that I remind you of what it was you came here to find.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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