24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Dogtooth [DVD] (2009) (DVD)
Certainly the biggest surprise of the year for me. Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos, this Greek film centres around a family home. A wealthy father lives with his wife, son and two daughters in a modern secluded house, all seems quite normal. But nobody is allowed out of the home apart from the father, the wife doesn't want to leave the house. The children, all in their early 20's, seem to have been imprisoned since birth. Their schooling is in-house, relying on home-made tapes and books, and have become infantalised. Unknown words are given alternative names by their parents, deliberately, so for example `zombies' are yellow flowers, leading to many unfortunate incidents! The parents use a fictional brother who has been banished from the house as the means to imprison the three children. No outsider is allowed into the house, apart from a woman, Christina, who works in the factory of the father. She is paid by the father to have sex with the son. Bored with the son, she befriends one of the daughters. Their friendship blossoms, the daughter's curiosity leading to rebellion and all manner of carnage awaits.
Many people seem to be put off by the dark tone of this movie, but the the deadpan black comedy electrifies this film. Dogtooth has echoes of Michael Haneke's direction and style of acting, and some of David Lynch's earlier movies such as `Blue Velvet' in its depiction of the sinisterly wierd in the familar and normal. There are some wonderful moments, including an awkwardly brilliant dance sequence by one of the daughters. The misinformation supplied by the parents creates some brilliant moments of surreal comedy and violence, not least the introduction of a cat.
The film has many unnanswered questions, not least why the parents have raised their children in such a calculated way. Disturbingly, the mother, though not initially, is as complicit as the father. The director is to be applauded for being able to maintain some genuinely disturbing scenes with some absurdly innocent and playful black humour, which Todd Solondz's Happiness managed to capture brilliantly. This film still seems to have slipped under the radar of many people, its without question the find of this year for me.