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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 164 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 164
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  1. Dec 20, 2010
    9
    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,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. Expand
  2. KimA
    Nov 7, 2007
    10
    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.
  3. JakeS.
    Dec 9, 2005
    10
    I thought this movie was brilliant. It subtly exposes the flaws of capitalism via exploitation and greed. The ending is predictable but the haunting message echos long after viewing. I loved it.
  4. Oct 8, 2010
    10
    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
    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.
    Expand
  5. PeterPan
    Feb 14, 2006
    0
    First of all, I would not call this a film. It is, as others already mentioned, an experiment and IMHO, an insult to real cinematography. Some of you might think that Lars von Trier is a genius and consider the so called Dogma 95 an utlimate achievement in style. I don't. I would rather consider it snobbish pseudo-elitist garbage that serves mainly one purpose: giving a group of First of all, I would not call this a film. It is, as others already mentioned, an experiment and IMHO, an insult to real cinematography. Some of you might think that Lars von Trier is a genius and consider the so called Dogma 95 an utlimate achievement in style. I don't. I would rather consider it snobbish pseudo-elitist garbage that serves mainly one purpose: giving a group of opinionated "intelectuals" a self-validation tool which has to prove their mental superiority i.e. "You morons, don't get real art and never will. Go watch 'Rocky VI' instead. Leave art to us to judge upon." I recommend reading "Emperor's new clothes". You know, it's not really about tailors and clothes. Expand
  6. TommiR.
    Dec 30, 2005
    3
    Call me stupid, but I was bored from the first minute. I like theatre, but this type of shows I avoid at all costs.
  7. JeromeM.
    May 13, 2004
    10
    Tom is a metaphor for the contemporary opportunism that surrounds us, the everyday spin for personal gain. Kidman, as always, carries every nuance. Whatever is on the other side of "brilliant" Lars has it. jerry manheim.
  8. JakeW.
    Apr 1, 2004
    10
    An instant classic/masterpiece. Kidman is astonishing, and the emotional complexity of her performance and the story itself is unbelievable and draining. It is like nothing I have ever seen before, and it is definitely one of the best films, dare I say it, of all time!
  9. MatthewT.
    Apr 5, 2004
    10
    It's like a Tolstoy novel crossed with "A Modest Proposal" with a dash of "Pulp Fiction." Plus, James Caan plays God.
  10. BenjaminB.
    Jun 8, 2004
    10
    By the way, "Dogville" is not a Dogme 95 film, although it *is* directed by Lars Von Trier, who helmed the movement in Denmark along with a few other filmmakers. Technically, the only Dogme film Von Trier released is "Idioterne" aka "The Idiots" aka "Dogme #2." "Dogville" in fact breaks nearly every rule of a Dogme film: it is shot on DV, not 35mm, and many shots are not hand-held; it is By the way, "Dogville" is not a Dogme 95 film, although it *is* directed by Lars Von Trier, who helmed the movement in Denmark along with a few other filmmakers. Technically, the only Dogme film Von Trier released is "Idioterne" aka "The Idiots" aka "Dogme #2." "Dogville" in fact breaks nearly every rule of a Dogme film: it is shot on DV, not 35mm, and many shots are not hand-held; it is shot on a soundstage with props and placed lighting, all of which are against the rules of Dogme. Looks like the little bastard is rebelling against himself this time. Whatever. It's a masterpiece. Go see it, twice. Even, better go with a group, you'll have wonderful conversation fodder for a month. Expand
  11. NancyM.
    Sep 24, 2004
    10
    Extraordinary! I have never seen so much talent as encapsulated in one film, starting with the director, and including All the actors. The editing and the final montage are exquisite.
  12. turanderb.
    Jan 9, 2005
    10
    Values are either negotiated at the risk of having to find compromise, or they are imposed on others. Negotiation and readiness to move one's own position into a compromise require respect - imposing values onto others does not require respect. This movie is about such respect, and about the problem that lack of such respect will eventually spiral into violence of any form, at which Values are either negotiated at the risk of having to find compromise, or they are imposed on others. Negotiation and readiness to move one's own position into a compromise require respect - imposing values onto others does not require respect. This movie is about such respect, and about the problem that lack of such respect will eventually spiral into violence of any form, at which point negotiation is probably useless. Expand
  13. Giulia
    Feb 25, 2005
    10
    It's a great movie, you can't enjoy it, but it seems so true.
  14. ElliottM
    Aug 7, 2005
    10
    Without question, the greatest film of 2004 and to quote Mike D'Angelo, formerly of Time Out NY, "simple, magical, ferocious, visonary." It's a work of art - easily one of the greatest films of this young decade.
  15. LukeP.
    May 1, 2006
    0
    The title says it all.
  16. AndyM.
    Mar 31, 2004
    10
    Masterpiece.
  17. JonathanH.
    Apr 2, 2004
    7
    I liked this movie, but I don't think it's a masterpiece, it is however the best performance of Kidman's career. some of the time while i was watching this it was almost hypnotic, but sometimes boring. But all in all a very interesting movie, not for everyone.
  18. ShawnA.
    Apr 2, 2004
    0
    Complete crap, the acting is stiff, Lars Von Trier is attempting to make a point of something but seems to have nothing at all to say. It's so obviously anti-american. I'm not just against it because of that, I'm against it because it's horrible.
  19. ChristopherN.
    Apr 5, 2004
    10
    Clearly people either love or hate this film with extreme passion. For that: I love it.
  20. BillR.
    Apr 9, 2004
    4
    [***SPOILERS***] Amusing. Most amusing. D'Angelo and company, you truly amuse me beyond the extent that Dogville does not. Von Trier's latest is no 'masterpiece' in any sense of the word as far as I'm concerned. Just a curiously mediocre little 'help yourself to a vague ideological buffet' stunt. In catering to a more elitist audience, von Trier has [***SPOILERS***] Amusing. Most amusing. D'Angelo and company, you truly amuse me beyond the extent that Dogville does not. Von Trier's latest is no 'masterpiece' in any sense of the word as far as I'm concerned. Just a curiously mediocre little 'help yourself to a vague ideological buffet' stunt. In catering to a more elitist audience, von Trier has wound up forsaking what I think made Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, The Idiots, etc. so hateful, so that even when the end result is more watchable, it's still no less than gutless, insipid and turgid. One could say in its defense that Dogville capably establishes an oddball sense of community over three hours, but not for one scene did I ever feel this dubious achievement rose beyond the level of Conceit (just like the entire movie itself). Or that it provides an impressive actor's showcase to be had. Uh-huh. Beg to differ - there is little to no spark or actual vitality to be found in a single one of these performances. The best I can say for Kidman is that she's a *little* more tolerable than usual, and that's it. The rest of the actors range from the strictly obligatory (Philip Baker Hall, Chloe Sevigny, Lauren Bacall, Stellan Skarsgard), to the slightly interesting (Patricia Clarkson, Ben Gazzara, Zeljko Ivanek) to the nuisance miscast (James Caan, Cleo King, Siobhan Fallon, Jeremy Davies). Consider: when all the townspeople turn on Grace and chain her to the wheel, it has all the dramatic impact of a 'no hard feelings' poker-faced thud. The most disappointing, however, is Bettany, of whom I just don't get the appeal - earnest he may be, but a total charisma vaccuum as the male lead. So despite Tom's extensive screentime with Grace, I never gave a sh.t about the possible outcome of their relationship. Dogville on the whole is not a tenth as provocative or complex as its staunch advocates, detractors and von Trier (most of all I'm sure), would have you believe. It's a wholly obvious, contrived environment that never gets over its unrealistic self or builds to any sort of appreciable dramatic crescendo or thematic breakthrough. Sure, Kidman's Grace gets raped numerous times. But only the first time around (by Chuck) does it even come close to hinting at misogyny, nastiness, or hell, anything. No, the most 'incendiary' this strangely placid trifle ever gets are the red flashes that stand in for the 'razing' of Dogville towards the end. Finally, the John Hurt narration is perhaps the worst thing about this affair, more reminiscent of the grating likes of Chocolat, Amelie or Y tu mama tambien than I bet its enthusiasts care to admit: so pointlessly excessive, condescending, and, to be honest, utterly f..king stupid! at times that I'm almost positive the likes of J.K. Rowling or Spielberg (to name a few) could have just as easily written/translated it, and won raves simply due to Mr. Hurt haughtily squeezing acid from every stunted word. 'Masterpiece'? Give me a break, people. Collapse
  21. KarenB.
    Jun 4, 2004
    9
    If sitting through over 2 hours of some of the most despicable things that people can think to do to each other--and not people that you can comfortably, or comfortingly, put into "good" and "evil" boxes--all filmed on a near-bare sound stage by a director who will frequently infuriate you doesn't sound like your idea of a good time, don't bother. If, on the other hand, If sitting through over 2 hours of some of the most despicable things that people can think to do to each other--and not people that you can comfortably, or comfortingly, put into "good" and "evil" boxes--all filmed on a near-bare sound stage by a director who will frequently infuriate you doesn't sound like your idea of a good time, don't bother. If, on the other hand, you're not looking to be entertained or to have your cozy moral preconceptions reinforced, you'll find a lot to talk about after seeing this movie. I can see why many viewers hate this film; it's not in the least easy to watch and you'll definitely feel like going straight home to take a shower afterwards. But if you don't mind hours of boredom and discomfort interspersed with moments of fury and outrage, the fascinating final few minutes are a tremendous payoff. Expand
  22. CameronS.
    Jun 4, 2004
    5
    [***PLOT REVELATIONS***] ?Dogville? very well might be the most provocative film you?re likely to see this year, it also might be the most over brood. Because I am extremely indecisive of what I thought about the film (though it made me think a lot), God sent me an angel to encourage my happy thoughts about the film. To one-up God, Satan sent a demon to discourage any liking I had of it.[***PLOT REVELATIONS***] ?Dogville? very well might be the most provocative film you?re likely to see this year, it also might be the most over brood. Because I am extremely indecisive of what I thought about the film (though it made me think a lot), God sent me an angel to encourage my happy thoughts about the film. To one-up God, Satan sent a demon to discourage any liking I had of it. They conflicted like two raging, overpriced attorneys trying to earn there share. Angel: First off, the film is so luminously beautiful. Every shot is composed to look like a painting in a sad place. The brightness on Nicole Kidman?s cheeks is gorgeous and the digital video perfectly captures the look of Dogville. Demon: Digital video being beautiful! What are you smoking? Don?t you know that digital video is aesthetically challenging and a cheaper way of communicating a despicable story? Angel: I understand what you mean, but it is put to faultless and radiant use in this lovely Dogme movie. Lars von Trier has made a great and straight Dogme film here. He is relying entirely on the skills of the actors, natural light, camera, and story. The theatrical set in ?Dogville? is basic and sets the story in action perfectly. Despite having only chalk drawn roads and interiors, they work sensibly and you easily get used what is there. This shows that you don?t need overdone sets to communicate this story. It?s all about the acting with von Trier, which features excellent performances so splendidly theatrical. Demon: Are you kidding? The sets are terrible and stupid; if I wanted to see something like that I would just go to the boring old theatre. Did the Dogme 95 rule ever imply that you ought to have a good screenplay on your hands before buying actors with only chalk-drawn sets to work with? Lars von Trier may be a skilled filmmaker, but he bores us at a laborious pace through the wretched theatrical waste that this is. The acting is rougher around the edges than the glass that the family makes prettier. I suppose you could praise it theatrical because the actors open invisible doors with cheesy sound effects. Angel: But that?s the point? The film is supposed to distill pain in you, because that is what it is all set up to do. We know it will bring us to a heartbreaking conclusion, an emotional climax that will hit you hard. Demon: Or anger you and make you feel like throwing up. You don?t have to wait till the ending to feel nauseous. After Grace is raped repeatedly and tastelessly, you should just give up and walk out. The film is the furthest thing from either escapism or the human condition and is far from cinematic art. Angel: Okay, but what about the unconventional storytelling involved here. It is told in nine chapters and a prologue, making for individual vignettes of character development. And at least it only had one ending. Demon: Yeah, and it was much better done in Kill Bill. The chapters and narration are just another way for the film to be entirely anti-cinematic. With a three hour runtime, any movie should have sufficient character development, but by the end of the ?Dogville?, all but a few of the characters feel unfinished. And then there is the Anti-American message that is slapped across the audience face like we were its whores. How can you say it only had one ending, are you forgetting the perverse credit sequence where we see pictures of people from the Depression being played to the blissful music of ?Young Americans?. Angel: There?s no denying that it is Anti-American at all, but that isn?t a valid criticism. Most of its lashes at America are more subtle than that. Demon: You?re one arrogant angel, you know. I?ll never be welcoming any of your kind into my chalk-drawn home again. You can make a good film with an anti-American message, but it doesn?t have to be as hollow as this one. And so ended their conversation. But that shouldn?t be it; I?ve got to tell you what I can about the film from my own interpretation, not posthumous creatures. The film starts with a prologue giving us general and modicum introductions to the characters we will be spending a long time with in this Depression-Era, Rocky Mountain town. There is Tom Edison, Jr. (Paul Bettany) and his father, quasi-novelist and insignificant philosophers to the town. These two were obviously lifted from Thomas Edison, advancer of the projector and telephone. Then there are two black women, Olivia and another girl, who is crippled. This is one of the more restrained anti-American ideas in the film, where a black woman is still at the bottom of the barrel of social growth, and it badgers us of our racial history of slavery. This is actually one of the finer scourges at our country. Then there is Chuck, his wife, and there seven kids, who are obviously a product of poor prophylactic use in our country. Their mother (Patricia Clarkson) is very praising of them and sees it impossible for them to really do anything wrong. Maybe this is a reflection of the soccer moms of today who scream for vengeance at the referee when there kid is legally slide tackled by an opposing player. While her husband Chuck, may be the misogynistic reflection of all bored, blue-collared husbands, trying to sneak out of his poor love life and into an affair worth its weight in salt. Or how about the blind man that tries to cover up his weakness by denial. Is this a representation of how our country covers up its problems by simply denying them? Perhaps it is, but the film is jostled with so many anti-American messages it?s easy to see how it went overboard and ostentatiously strikes us across the face. So how about the plot, that isn?t that important. Grace (Nicole Kidman) is on the run from gangsters as she stumbles into Dogville. Tom Edison welcomes her happily into the town with minimal skepticism by the townsfolk. They?ve decided that they shall protect her, under the circumstances that she does things for them. At first, this is not needed, for they don?t ?need? anything done, but Grace insists on doing things that they might want to have done (Americans don?t need much, but want and get a whole lot). She converses with a blind man who does not need conversation, for if he did he would just go out into the empty town and talk with somebody. While the film is fresh and pleasant it is actually very entertaining. The people of ?Dogville? become unfriendly after the stakes are raised on Grace?s value. This is something I can understand from a Danish perspective of America, but one I do not wholly accept myself. One time when driving home with a [minority] friend, we were talking about something that lead to the possibility of running out of gas on a very rural road. He said that we shouldn?t worry for Americans are very friendly and would help us out. He proceeded to tell me a story about an uncle of his who was conducting a country census and was repeatedly rejected and hospitality by the people. However, this friendliness may stem from our ignorance. The United States is the only place in the world where an article in a paper can go out about a guy losing his job and depressing many people who later send small amounts of money to him. The leading ladies in all of von Trier?s films are treated pretty badly and end up coming out pretty badly. And if you thought Bjork?s treatment was coarse, it is rather mild by what happens to Nicole Kidman in this film. Considering everything I just said, I am still unsure what to quite make of this. One half of I wants to say that the film was distinguished, provocative, and had a strong, important message. The other half felt it was pretty wretched and sick, a pretentious waste of time with an overlong, insincere gradations. I can love this film for all its importance, and despise it for all its gauche handlings. I recommend that those austerely interested see it, but those who can stand this kind of jarring filmmaking, should avoid. Dogville can be compared to Eerie, the town in ?Big Fish?. For a while it can be like heaven, but after too long it can be hell, much like the rest of our nation, the land of opportunity. Expand
  23. KatieP.
    Aug 25, 2004
    10
    A chilling tale of acceptance, rejection, tolerance, morals and most of all, revenge. It's a great movie, it really is. Nicole Kidman was brilliant in it, as usual. Maybe a bit drawn out towards the end.
  24. Rico
    Sep 10, 2004
    8
    File under: Would make a great double feature with Road to Perdition. I found it appaulingly pretentious at first but it came through for me. A great cast saves this film.
  25. EdgarE.
    Sep 28, 2004
    8
    Es una de las peliculas mas originales que he visto en mucho tiempo.
  26. GodyP
    Dec 2, 2005
    10
    A Masterpiece.
  27. PatP
    Dec 24, 2005
    10
    To say that I was "reluctant" to watch this movie would be a massive understatement. I exerted a lot of effort in avoiding it as long as I possibly could, but once I was forced to watch it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel the critics far over-emphasize the cynicism of this movie and take it as an assault on all things Americana, but I perceived it as a surpisingly funny ultra dark comedy. To say that I was "reluctant" to watch this movie would be a massive understatement. I exerted a lot of effort in avoiding it as long as I possibly could, but once I was forced to watch it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel the critics far over-emphasize the cynicism of this movie and take it as an assault on all things Americana, but I perceived it as a surpisingly funny ultra dark comedy. While I expected it to be slow and depressing, it was actually slow and hilarious. Clearly, it's not for everyone, but if you can laugh at a little misery, then give this film a chance. Expand
  28. RobinS.
    Oct 5, 2005
    10
    Brilliant and innovative. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and I saw it a long time ago. Something that you'll come back to time and time again.
  29. DwightV.
    Jan 8, 2005
    9
    I don't know how anyone could give this movie below a 6. It was well written and acted. Von Trias DOES break new ground. The beginning is a little slow, and the setting should have been in a real town, but nevetheless it is one of the most creative, differant movies I have seen, just great.
  30. CharlesL.
    Feb 2, 2005
    9
    Some of my friends whose tase in movies I usually agree with hated this film, but I thought it was one of the best movies of the year. When I heard that Roger Ebert hated it and called it "anti-American," I knew I was onto something potentially great. Loved the allegorical nature of the plot; loved the performances; it was as if I was in a theater and seeing one of the great plays of the Some of my friends whose tase in movies I usually agree with hated this film, but I thought it was one of the best movies of the year. When I heard that Roger Ebert hated it and called it "anti-American," I knew I was onto something potentially great. Loved the allegorical nature of the plot; loved the performances; it was as if I was in a theater and seeing one of the great plays of the decade. Count me in as being in the minority maybe, but this film will be historically vindicated. Expand
  31. DonF.
    Apr 11, 2005
    9
    This would have made great theatre. As a movie, it suffers from lack of cinematography, but not much else is missing. Compelling and artful, like a well mounted Medea. Fascinating observation of the smugness, vapidness and ineffectualism of common morality.
  32. OrlandoC.
    Jun 2, 2005
    8
    You gotta be in the right mood to enjoy and be entertained by this movie. I personally liked it a lot. The performances are simply great, specially Kidman, who shines as usual. Though the main subject has always been in a lot of movies, the way is treated in here makes it unique. Yeah, it's 3hours, but I repeat: if you are in the right mood, those 3 hours will be highly enjoyable. You gotta be in the right mood to enjoy and be entertained by this movie. I personally liked it a lot. The performances are simply great, specially Kidman, who shines as usual. Though the main subject has always been in a lot of movies, the way is treated in here makes it unique. Yeah, it's 3hours, but I repeat: if you are in the right mood, those 3 hours will be highly enjoyable. Plus, it's quite an experiment that pushes boundaries and makes you focus in all the things that the characters are going through. Of course it could've been better, but we gotta give the props to Von Trier for making such a weird movie. Expand
  33. PeterH.
    Nov 2, 2004
    9
    A truly original film. It tells a story about compassion, acceptance, jealousy and ultimately evil. To anyone with an ounce of morality, the ending would normally seem excessive, but strangely not in this case. Great performances are emphasised by the theatre style set. Nicole Kidman is especially impressive.
  34. Catherine
    Mar 27, 2004
    10
    One of the most unique films that you will ever see. Lars von Trier creates a disturbing, thought provoking masterpiece that is a cry against humanity. Nicole Kidman gives the performance of a lifetime.
  35. Patrick
    Jun 8, 2004
    9
    Utterly brillant. Lars Von Trier prooves himself frighteningly relevant with this 3 hour minimalist "critique" of American culture. Blending the styles of Bertold Brecht and Thorton Wilder, Von Trier has created one of the most frightening allegories in recent years, and he has done it without props, scenery, or things that are cinematic. while the choice to shoot the entire film on a one Utterly brillant. Lars Von Trier prooves himself frighteningly relevant with this 3 hour minimalist "critique" of American culture. Blending the styles of Bertold Brecht and Thorton Wilder, Von Trier has created one of the most frightening allegories in recent years, and he has done it without props, scenery, or things that are cinematic. while the choice to shoot the entire film on a one unit black box set was a little strange, it works better than expected, as the actors are challenged to do things only stage actors have had to do in the past. We are lucky in this to see stellar performances from Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Patty Clarkson, and Lauren Becall. Expand
  36. EricW.
    Sep 13, 2004
    1
    This movie sucked. The purported formalist experimentationalism of the set design, etc. quickly fades into the background as the film becomes little more than yet another occasion for von Trier to work out his issues with women (and humanity in general) at our expense. Of course, it could be said that that's all art ever amounts too; but one goal is at least to be interesting. Yet This movie sucked. The purported formalist experimentationalism of the set design, etc. quickly fades into the background as the film becomes little more than yet another occasion for von Trier to work out his issues with women (and humanity in general) at our expense. Of course, it could be said that that's all art ever amounts too; but one goal is at least to be interesting. Yet this bleak little number fails to manage that. In fact, it's a total yawn; if it weren't for all the media hype, I surely wouldn't have bothered sitting through the whole thing. A mixture of curiosity and laziness (no remote control) kept me watching... What I got out of this were a bunch of tired anti-American cliches, which could be thought-provoking to only the most naiive viewer. It's the worst specimen of misanthropic naval-gazing I've seen in a while. Boring, silly, self-indulgent. In short: tiring and tiresome. The truth of von Trier's inchoherent vision is crystallized by the ridiculous montage that closes the film. What was the point of that? Expand
  37. NicB.
    Oct 17, 2005
    10
    Takes an effort to get into but well worth it. A work of genius!
  38. MarkJ.
    Mar 12, 2005
    8
    It is not for everyone and is not crap like the some critics are insinuate.
  39. CameronH.
    Apr 28, 2005
    0
    An experiment that went wrong. An engaging premise that becomes to painful to sit through.
  40. JoachimJ
    May 23, 2005
    10
    Brilliant and very interesting movie. So much to tell about it, that I still have to think it over.
  41. S.Gold
    Feb 20, 2006
    9
    Strong, entertaining, artsy all for a 3 hour film. Features great acting and directing, an interesting, but sad film.
  42. JoshC.
    Jan 14, 2007
    8
    From the gooseberries in Ma Ginger's garden to the German Hummels Nicole Kidman's Grace collects throughout her stay in Dogville, everything in Lars Von Trier's "Dogville" is a symbolic gesture of some kind. Narrated by John Hurt, this acerbic "illustration" of a small town's curious notions of entitlement unspools as a Christian allegory by way of Mark Twain or Dr. From the gooseberries in Ma Ginger's garden to the German Hummels Nicole Kidman's Grace collects throughout her stay in Dogville, everything in Lars Von Trier's "Dogville" is a symbolic gesture of some kind. Narrated by John Hurt, this acerbic "illustration" of a small town's curious notions of entitlement unspools as a Christian allegory by way of Mark Twain or Dr. Seuss. Von Trier understands that the root of American aggression is the arrogant elite's subjugation of the culturally underprivileged. The director walks a fine line: Dogville isn't anti-American, but anti-oppression. Expand
  43. TrevorL.
    Feb 28, 2007
    7
    Somewhat long, and at times frustrating. The frustration is erased by one of the most satisfying endings I have seen. It is not a happy ending, but one that immediately feels right. I did find the lack of sets somewhat distracting, which prevented me from giving a higher rating. The acting is all top notch.
  44. MaryT.
    May 23, 2008
    1
    Walked away disappointed..Was not worth my 3 hours of positive productive things I could have done. Nicole Kidman did a good job, but that is about it.
  45. MarcK.
    Dec 18, 2004
    2
    I understand that reaction to this movie is polarized...you either loved it or hated it. My reaction was the latter. This pretentious piece of crap is one of the worst films 0f 2004. The first hour was excruciatingly dull to watch, and I don't know what possessed me NOT to hit the eject on my DVD player. After the interesting "Breaking the Waves" and the incredibly depressing "Dancer I understand that reaction to this movie is polarized...you either loved it or hated it. My reaction was the latter. This pretentious piece of crap is one of the worst films 0f 2004. The first hour was excruciatingly dull to watch, and I don't know what possessed me NOT to hit the eject on my DVD player. After the interesting "Breaking the Waves" and the incredibly depressing "Dancer in the Dark", Von Trier breaks no new ground with this movie. And what was the deal with them ALWAYS opening up the "pretend" doors? OK, we get it already. It is my hope that people stop funding his movies, or at the very least, that someone starts medicating him. Expand
  46. John
    Mar 24, 2004
    10
    A masterpiece. Sure to be the best film of the year, if not the past several years. It is certainly the most provocative and disquieting film about human nature that I have ever seen.
  47. JackH.
    Apr 18, 2004
    10
    It's a 10 out of 10 for me, do I need I need to add something?
  48. MarkB.
    May 16, 2004
    7
    Lars von Trier is THE master of the hyperstylized, insanely disciplined "kill the kitty" movie. A "kill the kitty" movie is a movie in which the filmmaker takes a sweet, innocent little kitten and spends two hours (or in von Trier's case, usually more) pounding the living crap out of it. It isn't a sane person's idea of entertainment, but how well von Trier's obsessive Lars von Trier is THE master of the hyperstylized, insanely disciplined "kill the kitty" movie. A "kill the kitty" movie is a movie in which the filmmaker takes a sweet, innocent little kitten and spends two hours (or in von Trier's case, usually more) pounding the living crap out of it. It isn't a sane person's idea of entertainment, but how well von Trier's obsessive topic (he's too utterly original for me to insult him by calling it a formula) works depends upon the casting of the actress playing the kitten. Breaking the Waves was unforgettably poignant and heartbreaking because Emily Watson is so incredibly lovable; Dancer in the Dark, in which Bjork spends a whole lot of time making like Leatherface on the work of Rogers and Hammerstein, was damn near unwatchable (not to say unlistenable!) Dogville works not only because Nicole Kidman (who I'm not a big fan of; wearing a putty nose is not a good enough reason to win an Oscar) gives the best and most courageous performance of her career, but because von Trier does a remarkable job of acclimatizing us to his "Our-Town-In-Hell" world in a very short amount of time; directors like Stephen Sommers and Wolfgang Peterson, who seemingly can't film a scene with more than three people without a CGI effect in every other shot should take heed of how much emotional impact von Trier gets out of the simplest lighting change or sound effect. The glacial pacing really works, too, because it makes the horrific acts of the townsfolk of Dogville credible since they're occurring as gradually as they are. That said, von Trier, who to his credit finds a whole new way to destroy the pussycat, is a man in serious need of psychological help. He needs to get together with Nora Ephron (who will, of course, have to be flown to Denmark, since he won't get on a plane) and make a romantic comedy with a happy ending nearly as much as some of us viewers desperately need to watch one after this! The end-credits sequence and song choice, as well as some of his press comments, seemingly indicate that von Trier hates America, but it's not as simple as that; Dogville is the work of someone who hates humanity. And no matter how hypnotically presented, artistically made or terrifically acted Dogville may be (and it IS all three of the above), there is surely more to moviemaking and to life than subjecting audiences to three hours of unearned armchair adolescent rage. I mean, it's not like I didn't know already that mankind will sell each other out for the lowest price; Mark Burnett already taught me that on week after week of Survivor All-Stars...and the wrap-up, which von Trier seems to honestly believe presents a tremendous moral question for the ages, isn't that far removed from a 1960s spaghetti western or 1970s Charles Bronson revenge bloodbath. Expand
  49. ChrisH.
    May 25, 2004
    10
    The best film I have seen this year. Can't wait to see Mandelay.
  50. BillC.
    Sep 15, 2004
    10
    It must be a great movie if Edelstein hates it.
  51. RobC.
    Jan 22, 2005
    10
    This movie is a moral allegory on par with the Crucible and is perhaps even richer in subtexts, symbolism, and insights into human nature. Anyone who thinks it takes too dim a view of human nature need only remember the holocausts. We need films like this to remind us of our darker natures. I loved it.
  52. TonyB.
    Oct 31, 2005
    7
    Not totally successful in that it drags a bit and has some editing deficiencies, Dogville is still an extremely interesting and startingly original film that understandably garnered mixed reactions from both the critics and the public. Audiences stayed away in droves and thus missed the opportunity to see Nicole Kidman give yet another outstanding performance. The best supporting work Not totally successful in that it drags a bit and has some editing deficiencies, Dogville is still an extremely interesting and startingly original film that understandably garnered mixed reactions from both the critics and the public. Audiences stayed away in droves and thus missed the opportunity to see Nicole Kidman give yet another outstanding performance. The best supporting work here comes from Patricia Clarkson, Ben Gazarra and, especially, James Caan. The film was criticized for being anti-American, which it isn't, and anti-human, which it isn't either. It is simply depicting the horrible ways a group of people can behave in certain situations and the price they sometimes pay for that behavior. Expand
  53. NicholasE.
    Sep 18, 2005
    10
    Oh, if you just understood what this movie was all about. But you can't. You're not supposed to. It's supposed to be open ended. "Movies should be made to raise questions, but never to answer them" -Lars Von Trier.
  54. StevenS.
    Feb 12, 2007
    0
    Horrible, Boring, Unwatchable. Why did Nicole Kidman and the other stars agree to do this one ?
  55. KevinR
    Feb 26, 2009
    0
    Awful, just absolutely awful. Pretentious, pompous, contrived...packed with leaden "symbolism" and self-important "philosophising." Stay far away.
  56. BeckiJ.
    Nov 17, 2004
    8
    Thought-provoking. Stunning performance by Nicole Kidman.
  57. JohnC.
    Nov 19, 2006
    8
    Definitely worth a shot if you've got the attention span to make it to the very satisfying climax. The mis en scene seems silly at first, but by the end of the first few scenes you'll be lost in the plot and oblivious to the unique style. The film is extremely well acted (especially Kidman) but I would only recommend this film for those with a strong stomach and a taste for Definitely worth a shot if you've got the attention span to make it to the very satisfying climax. The mis en scene seems silly at first, but by the end of the first few scenes you'll be lost in the plot and oblivious to the unique style. The film is extremely well acted (especially Kidman) but I would only recommend this film for those with a strong stomach and a taste for arthouse film. Expand
  58. Aug 27, 2010
    9
    Lars von Trier once again returns to his obsession with the idea of the victim and avant-garde style, but this time around the lead actress (Nicole Kidman) is apt for the part, giving a perfect duality between the "damsel in distress" and "femme fatale," and the absence of a set isn't ever detracting, but just sort of fun (at least to me - more traditional-minded critics were probablyLars von Trier once again returns to his obsession with the idea of the victim and avant-garde style, but this time around the lead actress (Nicole Kidman) is apt for the part, giving a perfect duality between the "damsel in distress" and "femme fatale," and the absence of a set isn't ever detracting, but just sort of fun (at least to me - more traditional-minded critics were probably crying out in disgust...) Also, rather than simply forcing emotion, von Trier uses his extremism to finish with a question of morality, which presents a harrowing view of humanity and a reconsideration of how we function as a society. Expand
  59. Apr 6, 2012
    10
    I know this is not a movie that will appeal to everybody, but I personally think this movie is one of the best ones I have since the last decade! NIcole Kidman's performance is oustanding! This is an inventive, original movie that challenges order, and questions humans 'good faith'. A masterpiece. I cant describe it...you have to see it!
  60. Feb 5, 2013
    8
    Inexplicably fine film. A monumental ideological concept elaborated with calligraphic punctuality. Dogville established Lars von Trier as one of my favorite filmmakers of all time.
  61. Dec 15, 2013
    10
    A huge impact on me from this movie. There is almost no decor/scenery in this movie, and all you see is a great cast and story. The movie is almost 3 hours long and in the end the main question is solved, but you still have an aftertaste from this. All of this is about the human nature. I really liked the meaning of the movie. But I won't recommend this to everyone. Still the movie is veryA huge impact on me from this movie. There is almost no decor/scenery in this movie, and all you see is a great cast and story. The movie is almost 3 hours long and in the end the main question is solved, but you still have an aftertaste from this. All of this is about the human nature. I really liked the meaning of the movie. But I won't recommend this to everyone. Still the movie is very unusual. Expand
  62. Dec 23, 2013
    10
    A very strong, heavy perspective about humanity. In my opinion this is the best movie Trier has directed so far. Nicole Kidman fits in her role perfectly. The visual look of this movie makes it complete. Masterpiece.
  63. Dec 26, 2013
    8
    Dogville is a bold film, is something i recognize. I really liked the way this movie breaks some hollywood cliches on the scenes and also on the trama of the movie. Lars Von Trier always tries to explain his filosophy in his movies. It's funny americans are not ready for this kind of movies. This movie shows the filosophy about human nature in a very artistic way.
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 39
  2. Negative: 10 out of 39
  1. 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]
  2. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    80
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    30
    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.