A mysterious woman arrives at a small mountain town and falls in love with a writer as she helps the town's citizens with their daily lives, but slowly, the town's darker side comes out.
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.