The Idiots (Idioterne) (Dogma 95) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Idiots (Idioterne) (Dogma 95) Reviews

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September 11, 2017
The Idiots is a dark and daring deconstruction of societal attitudes towards disability, coupled with a meditation on the fleeting, never-quite-attainable nature of freedom.
Sticking semi-strictly the constraints of Dogme 95 filmmaking, this fuzzy film charts the punk-inspired mishaps of a group of people who like to go out and pretend to have learning disabilities - and claim to have one or two good reasons for doing so.
Some spout bizarre anti-establishment arguments in favour of the freedom and simplicity of the lives of the less capable and self-aware, which they believe better the constraints of an educated existence dedicated to the building up of 'middle class bullshit'. Others are merely disturbed, traumatised or bored with the severity of a serious life, and in desperate need of a frivolous escape.
Slowly but surely, writer-director Lars Von Trier's characters grow increasingly obsessed with the idea of trying to channel their 'inner idiots'. As this happens, the film's challenging concept and character psychology grow ever more understandable, yet ever more unattainable - much like the deranged sense of freedom and community each lost soul so desperately wants and needs to claim as their own.
The Idiots is a bold, ballsy character study; unique, uncompromising and utterly unforgettable.
½ September 25, 2016
Lars von Trier swings and misses with this somewhat experimental and bold (pretentious?) film. It was a film made with a ridiculous code some Danish filmmakers signed known as Dogma 95, which takes a minimalist approach to filmmaking and storytelling. The idea of adults pretending to be mentally handicapped might have been intriguing on paper, but the film is contemptible from the first scene to the last. Von Trier seems to think his audience is a bunch of uptight snobs who are too stupid to know what's good for them, and that could be why many people felt uncomfortable with this movie (beyond the obvious point of seeing healthy people "spassing" out or the thoroughly gratuitous hard-core sex scene in the middle). I'll say that at least it wasn't boring and I did laugh a few times despite myself. Overall, The Idiots is a truly bad film.
March 15, 2016
Won't be everyones cup of tea but it is compelling and absurd.
November 1, 2015
Its Dogme style is certainly original and very much so effective, but Lars von Trier's true mastery doesn't come out as well as it should, but the movie nonetheless carries a large amount of philosophy and provocation.
½ May 17, 2015
Provocative, perverse, twisted and highly offensive -- Lars von Trier's experimental film brings up a slew of cultural and societal issues. The entire film is intended to make the audience feel uncomfortable. The key to why it manages to work comes in the closing moments of the movie.
May 7, 2015
Imperfectamente perfecta. Vanguardista y antisistema tanto en su tÚcnica como en su discurso.
May 7, 2015
Imperfectamente perfecta. Vanguardista y antisistema tanto en su tÚcnica como en su discurso.
March 25, 2015
Stupid, empty, useless. And deadly boring, that is the worst thing.
And really nothing new: "experiments" of this kind - including explicit penetration, has already been done in the 70s, and then abandoned.
Fortunately, after this horror, the infamous dogma 95 has been abandoned. But it had the time to make some damage, the worst being this "The idiots"
March 22, 2015
Von Trier's controversial avant-garde film is clearly tailored to shock and provoke with scenes like the "spasser gang bang" but some scenes seems to effectively depict the struggles of genuinely disabled people met with misunderstanding and hostility. This may or may not have been the director's goal, but it provokes serious thought all the same.
½ August 18, 2014
Von Trier with disappointing ending.
½ July 3, 2014
Moving and disturbing at the same time.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
May 9, 2014
As if "Epidemic" didn't have an obvious enough title, this film's title just goes ahead and lets you know how exactly Lars von Trier seems to feel about human beings. At the very least, it makes this film sound like a sitcom or something, something that it probably is, that is, for someone as disturbed as Lars von Trier. Shoot, I joke, but idiots and sitcoms go together like a Lars von Trier film and a deep reassessment on your views of humanity, so maybe this technically is a sitcom, only, you know, not nearly as popular as the usual one. Maybe this thing would have stood a chance of being a huge commercial success if it featured people like Emily Watson or Bj÷rk... neither of whom made this film's fellow "Golden Heart Trilogy" installments, "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark", especially bit commercial successes. Still, those films are, in fact, more popular, and quite honestly, I can't help but feel that it's largely because where "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark" were in English that was about as comprehensive as a Scottish Emily Watson and a Czech Bj÷rk could make it, this film is Danish, because, you know, a Danish-language middle installment worked so well for von Trier's "Europa" trilogy. You people probably don't know what I'm talking about, because "Epidemic" was by no means memorable, partly because it's title wasn't too much less creative than this film's. Now, this film itself, however, is about as interesting as "Epidemic", despite its carrying a few intriguing traits, or at least intriguing performances.

Interestingly enough, the film is largely about folks pretending to be developmentally retarded, but the problem with that, outside of it being a premise that is too weird for its own good, the performances are perhaps more convincing than they ought to be, defining impressive transformative performances, as surely as the occasional dramatic note defines near-powerful performances. On the whole, there's not a whole lot of material for the performers to work with, for there is only so much material to begin with, yet the fact of the matter is that competence is consistent in the performers, and by no means completely absent from Lars von Trier's performances, even as screenwriter. Abstractionist something awful and reportedly completed within four days, von Trier's script is by no means anything to write home about on the whole, but it has its moments, with occasions of clever dialogue, and even a few colorful set pieces which actually proves to be sort of entertaining, or at least complimentary to the selling of questionable subject matter. Obviously, this film isn't that interesting, as it is generally misguided as an abstractionist drama whose weird premise is far from its most disconcertingly strange aspect, but there's a certain intrigue to its sheer, gutsy originality, alone, and its themes on social criticism are also unique and intriguing, with conceptual narrative potential that goes firmly betrayed in a lot of ways by an overtly experimental execution. That being said, no matter how artistically misguided, von Trier's direction has its commendable aspects, utilizing an intentionally amateur and naturalist visual style that, while technically questionable to the point of being aesthetically distancing, is refreshing and rather immersive, while also meeting occasions of genuine material with a thoughtfulness that draws out some adequate resonance. Mind you, von Trier never abandons the thoughtfulness, so when material lapses, as it ever so often does, the film crashes as near-tedious, and it's not like the heights in inspiration are all that soaring, because the film is too minimalist to be all that impressive at any point, yet the strengths stand. Alas, they cannot drive the final product beyond mediocrity that is actually kind of lucky to achieve, having its strengths and intrigue, but generally falling flat, even technically.

Falling firm into the Dogme '95 Manifesto which demands hyper naturalism and extreme minimalism to, if any filmmaking flare, the film is among the first shot entirely on digital, and in an amateur, very home video fashion at that, with noisy and cinematographically flat video quality which, while immersive in its naturalism, is aesthetically and subjectively questionable in its distancing simplicity. Of course, the film's visual style is not the only problematic form of style here, because it's storytelling, of all things, that is most overstylized, with an intentionally disjointed and unfocused narrative style that abstractly meanders along, saying little, even about its characters. No matter how convincing the performers are, there's not much to sell the characters who stand centered at what focus there is to this intimate film, as immediate development is barely present, while gradual exposition proves to be lacking, and character focus proves to be uneven, keeping you distant from characters who are disconcerting enough in their questionable, if not unlikable traits. The premise behind this film isn't all that believable, and that makes it hard to buy in on Lars von Trier's trademark themes on humanity deconstruction, even though you might would have stood a chance of getting invested in this character study if more was fleshed out. Of course, as much as the film tightens things up by thinning out exposition, when it drags, it drags something fierce, for although there was never to be too much material in this aggressively minimalist affair, a runtime of almost two hours is meandered to with the help of exhaustingly repetitious filler, if not sheer nothingness that is tedious enough on paper. Von Trier makes things even worse as director, abandoning atmospherics with a thoughtfulness that, no matter how effective during the occasions in which actual material kicks in, dries things out punishingly, with a dullness that is aggravating enough when von Trier doesn't place pretense into what atmosphere there is. I suppose von Trier's ambition is mostly charming, as it's not like the uniqueness and inspired highlights aren't worth respecting, but on the whole, von Trier tries too hard to do little, and that's challenging, maybe not to the point of destroying the film, but certainly to the point of rendering the final product mightily misguided.

Overall, the performances are convincing and the script and subject matter are often intriguing in their uniqueness and occasional effectiveness, while stylistic and atmospheric highlights to direction secure glimpses of a more decent film, ultimately lost in the wake of questionable technical value, storytelling and characterization which, all behind a tediously draggy and dryly, if not somewhat pretentiously told narrative, drive Lars von Trier's "The Idiots" into mediocrity as a refreshing, but artistically misguided bore.

2.25/5 - Mediocre
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2014
The idiots is Lars von Trier's shocking black comedy, which is also his first attempt at Dogma 95. The idiots explored the eccentricity of a group of adults in their protest of the responsibilities they need to make as adults. The humour is too crude for my taste. It felt like porn at some stages, but I can honestly say it's the paramount of experimental films. I don't think I can look at Denmark again the same way after this film.
February 23, 2014
[Interested: cannot find.]
½ February 3, 2014
Who the hell cares if you have found your inner idiot?
October 23, 2013
Meaningless and uneventful, "The Idiots" is a bold experiment but mostly a failed one. The technical characteristics of the film were non-existent, while the social commentary was truly superficial: it doesn't work really well as a farce and fails to rise above it although it tries hard to do so - it's a film totally detached from social reality or from a sincere shot at a change for the better.
½ September 1, 2013
Idioterne is the golden standard for the Dogma 95. The acting in this film is beyond me; and the plot has a never-ending ache for conflict and complications for these idiots. Lars von Trier has got to be bonkers after writing this in less than a week and barely failing to meet Dogma 95's rules. Filmed with a tight budget, Idioterne is complex; it makes you doubt about inhibitions caused by society; stirs a deep anxiety for the misconception of the meaning of sanity; makes you think, can this film go even further? And then it does.
½ May 4, 2013
Filmed in that Dogma style that was all the rage (for a couple of months) in the late 90's, The Idiots is certainly not my favorite Von Trier film.. As a matter of fact, it's probably on the lower echelon of films he's made, but there are some interesting moments, maybe none so than in the devastating "homecoming" conclusion.
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