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!!!
Is it possible that I've found a film that is too pessimistic even for me? No, not really. But Lars von Trier's post-modern opus certainly comes close. His direction and story are remarkably grim, revealing human beings' seemingly natural penchant for destruction and selfishness. The story unfolds slowly, but it's captivating, and the three hours goes quickly.
I also liked von Trier's concept. The action takes place on a large sound stage, and chalk lines denote residences and even one family's dog; doors and gooseberry bushes are pantomimed. Toward the beginning I wondered if the concept would get in the way of the story, but when "Dogville's teeth are bared" (one of the Narrator's lines), the concept added to the film's effect: essentially, everything is out in the open in Dogville, but people still don't have the self-reflective awareness needed for self-condemnation.
However, I did think some of the Narrator's lines were too diegetic, and the second and third acts are more demonstrative than believable.
Overall, though, Dogville is a fascinating and grim condemnation of the darker parts of America with an inventive style all its own.
Nicole Kidman was perfect for the role of Grace, she gave a mesmerizing performance. The rest of the cast do brilliant also and create some very intriguing characters. This film is fantastic drama which is very well written.
I must emphasize that this film is not for people with short attention spans but turns out to be a very rewarding watch nevertheless.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany.
I love it when a film experiments, when it steers away from hollywood traits and formula's and tries something new, something a little different....Dogville, as a film, is one of those films.
But I honestly still feel two ways about the film, I love the fact that its experiments and takes many risks that many viewers will find hard to watch....but also the film does get repetitive. I am saying 'experiment' alot.....and I mean that because the film consists of 16 characters and 1 stage. It is set up like a play where we are not given any physical walls or sets....on one half I loved the fact that there is nothing to focus on but these characters and the outstanding human study of them....and we are shown what actors can do without anything around them, but on the other hand, it got annoying and repetitive that everything was the same for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
The film is very intriguing and is an excellent character study. I would recommend that if that is not what you look for when you watch a film that you stay clear of this film, but even if you love it when a film does finally study its characters, then you might find this film a little repetitive and slow paced due to the fact that the film does experiment by removing all physical walls and sets and plays out like a play. Take that as you will.
The chalk-drawn buildings and sparse settings will be distracting at first, but chances are that you'll start to fill it in mentally after 10 minutes and it won't bother you in the slightest. It's almost like reading a book. The plot, characters and performances are so immersive that the device actually helps even more to accentuate the movie.
I wish it was a little shorter. I bet there was half an hours' worth of material they could have cut to keep this from being so intimidating. Regardless, in its current form, it's still an excellent film from Lars von Trier.