27 Dec 2003 davidw   » (Master)

Alert: the movie Dogville is a stinker. Normally I wouldn't take the time to write this down, but this one's bad. Bad bad. Bad in the sense that adjectives like abominable, horrendous, atrocious, horrible, putrid, and vile roll off the tongue and are unsatisfying as a means for comunicating the awfulness of this film. Perhaps something more vulgar like "steaming pile of horse shit" begins to do it justice, but I wouldn't want to offend the horse shit with the comparison.

First of all, it's not really a film, it's more of a play. Or at least the set is a stage with some chalk lines drawn on it. Apparently by not having anything in the way of props, the viewer is supposed to focus on the characters. I would have settled by not having the film itself so that I could focus on doing something more pleasant with my life, like poking my eyes with hot needles. I wasn't expecting Lord of the Rings as far as scenery, but this film left me not only using my imagination to fill in the details, but using it to try and imagine myself doing something less painful and boring.

At least with a play, I could have watched it on my own terms, but instead, the director treats the viewer to a hurky-jerky-nauseavision style that makes even home handycam shots look like quality work.

Needless to say, being an "artsy" film, it drags on for over two hours, despite this version being cut down by the director from the original. It's divided into an introduction and 9 chapters that go by so slowly that it brought back memories of the clock ticking by at an impossibly slow rate in some hated class in school where seconds turn into minutes and minutes to hours. Only I paid to have this gem inflicted on me.

Apparently, the story, which is about a woman pursued by gangsters who hides out in a small colorado town which at first treats her well and subsequently heaps abuse on her (much like the director abuses the audience), is supposed to be about american foreign policy. No, I'm not kidding. I don't really see the relationship either, any more than watching a drunk man pee on a dumpster is a fascinating commentary on contemporary water rights politics in western canada. In any case, the film also deals with the cruelty of mankind, although midway through the film, you realize that the victim is not Nicole Kidman's character, but you, the viewer.

Conclusion: I have had more fun trying to get slivers out from under my fingernails. About as thought-provoking as the town crazy's shouting match with a light pole.

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