Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 39
  2. Negative: 10 out of 39
  1. 50
    Lars von Trier exhibits the imagination of an artist and the pedantry of a crank in Dogville, a film that works as a demonstration of how a good idea can go wrong.
  2. 75
    Dogville isn't for everyone, but there's some intellectually stimulating conversation fodder for those with the patience to navigate the film's rough terrain.
  3. 88
    Kidman gives the most emotionally bruising performance of her career in Dogville, a movie that never met a cliche it didn't stomp on.
  4. Mischievous, singular and profound.
  5. The film centers almost entirely on the faces of the townspeople, which Von Trier frames vividly. There’s nothing static about his technique, but everything else about the movie is dreary and closed off.
  6. Von Trier sets the action on a theatrical stage, spotlighting the existential isolation that weighs on people who don't seek larger visions of life, individuality, and community. Challenging, dramatic, provocative.
  7. While you watch the movie, it can seem ridiculously long-winded. But once it's over, its characters' miserable faces remain etched in your memory, and its cynical message lingers.
  8. This galvanizing cinematic work is also gorgeous, experimental, alive with a Scandinavian strain of chutzpah, and artistically elegant.
  9. A symphony for tin ears, a sniggering assessment of human nature delivered with the faux-lofty tone of a Lexus commercial.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Not for everyone. It is darkly funny, intellectually challenging and obliquely didactic. It also grows bleaker over the course of its nearly three-hour running time.
  11. 88
    Despite its ultimate nuttiness, has a quiet, consuming power that sneaks up on you and doesn't go away. This is something new and ambitious for Von Trier: a work of compassion.
  12. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Only the heavy stylization mitigates some highly artificial plot contrivances, and the final photo montage of America's poor, while no doubt exciting to Von Trier the provocateur, is maddeningly oblique.
  13. No matter how you come down on this movie politically, Dogville is a compelling chamber piece with constant cinematic surprises. And you remember that von Trier is, above everything else, a consummate filmmaker.
  14. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The politics of Dogville are on par with a third-rate gangster picture: cheap, opportunistic nihilism, with no enlivening sense of humor.
  15. 100
    Intentionally designed to rile as much as entertain.
  16. A provocation, a coup de théâtre and three hours of tedious experimentation.
  17. 80
    The incendiary Dogville confirms the director's sadistic knack for locating his characters' (and his audience's) soft spots and prodding them for a singular emotional experience.
  18. Bored me for most of its 178 minutes and then infuriated me with its cheap cynicism once it belatedly became interesting--which may be a tribute to writer-director Lars von Trier's gifts as a provocateur.
  19. Von Trier’s vision is amazingly thorough and exquisitely executed, but the audience may feel executed as well.
  20. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    An artistically experimental, ideologically apocalyptic blast at American values that is as obvious in intent as it is murky in aesthetic achievement.
  21. May be the most fascinating, richly accomplished screw-up you'll see all year. Von Trier, who has always had a talent for provocation, nails another heroine to the cross while playing his role to the hilt - a moviemaking rebel in his own dog days.
  22. If nothing else can be said of Dogville, it's a film that is like nothing else.
  23. Either an airless allegory about opportunistic Americans or another one of the director's parables of female persecution. OK, maybe it's both. But life is too short for three hours of misanthropy and misogyny.
  24. It plays like a baldfaced, brazen insult, but it is a stunningly accomplished one.
  25. Surprises, repulses and provokes. It's also brilliant and infuriating, wise and naïve, outrageous yet unforgettable.
  26. 100
    For passion, originality, and sustained chutzpah, this austere allegory of failed Christian charity and Old Testament payback is von Trier's strongest movie--a masterpiece, in fact.
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    It's a brilliant idea, for about 10 minutes. Then the bare set is elbowed out of a viewer's mind by the threadbare plot and characterizations.
  28. But as an artist, von Trier's contempt for humanity is becoming harder to hide with stylistic flourish. He doesn't even try here, and his arrogance is topped only by his misanthropy.
  29. 80
    A postmodern morality play stripped nearly bare by its precocious creator, until only its boldness, cutting insight, intermittent hilarity and bracing violence remain.
  30. 91
    This unique cinematic experience is a parable of greed and revenge that could take place anywhere.
  31. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Von Trier, however, undercuts the universality of his own message with his meretricious closing credits, set to David Bowie's "Young Americans," which explicitly turns Dogville into an anti-American screed.
  32. 10
    What Lars von Trier has achieved is avant-gardism for idiots. From beginning to end, Dogville is obtuse and dislikable, a whimsical joke wearing cement shoes. [29 March 2004, p. 103]
  33. Disembodied, patchy, pointless work, which isn't even successfully pretentious.
  34. 20
    Anti-Americanism is a small matter when a movie is anti-human. Dogville is as total a misanthropic vision as anything control freak Stanley Kubrick ever turned out.
  35. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    It really is a masterpiece--von Trier's first, as it happens.
  36. Lars von Trier's latest thingamabob is a large, pretentious blob of coulda-been. As in, it coulda been deep and insightful. It coulda been sociologically challenging. It coulda been formalistically thrilling. But it isn't.
  37. 88
    A stunning display of a filmmaker adventuring on the far side of what's possible.
  38. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    If Dogville has a reason for importance, it is the astonishing all-star ensemble who try very hard to put life into their cardboard characters and make this silly film work.
  39. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    Argue that von Trier’s latest is theatre and not cinema. But at least acknowledge that Dogville, in a didactic and politicised stage tradition, is a great play that shows a deep understanding of human beings as they really are.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 63
  2. Negative: 10 out of 63
  1. Dec 20, 2010
    Dogville is one of the most haunting films I have seen. It stays with your for a long time and makes you question the very nature of humanity.Dogville is one of the most haunting films I have seen. It stays with your for a long time and makes you question the very nature of humanity. With one of the most impressive acting ensembles, especially in regard to Nicole Kidman, Dogville shows the inhuman side of humanity. Also, being part of Lars von Trier's dogma ideology it is highly minimalist and experimental. If for anything else, it should be watched for its strange visual technique and performances. Very good film, overall. Full Review »
  2. Oct 8, 2010
    Beautiful and inventive. Philosophical and thought-provoking.
    Ugly and dull. Boring and mind-numbing.
    Both equally justified responses to
    Beautiful and inventive. Philosophical and thought-provoking.
    Ugly and dull. Boring and mind-numbing.
    Both equally justified responses to Lars von Trier's experimental drama Dogville. As the wonderful Bjork once said, you don't know anything until you've tasted all the sweets at the sweet shop. Go ahead and watch it. Sure, you may turn it off after the first 15 minutes, you may find the rape scenes overboard and you may find it pompous, but you also might, like me, think it is a fabulous portrayal of human behaviour and a brilliantly made film. Just, like the protagonist Grace, take a chance on Dogville. You may love yourself for it.
    Full Review »
  3. KimA
    Nov 7, 2007
    This is a very strong emotional movie. It is funny how many Americans just don't get it. Maybe they don't have a soul or is is just This is a very strong emotional movie. It is funny how many Americans just don't get it. Maybe they don't have a soul or is is just the mind!? I blame it on their culture and fake Hollywood style ;) Or maybe it is just ignorance. Full Review »