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Dogtooth [DVD] (2009)
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United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: Greek ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole new vocabulary. Any word that comes from beyond their family abode is instantly assigned a new meaning. Hence 'the sea' refers to a large armchair and 'zombies' are little yellow flowers. Having invented a brother whom they claim to have ostracized for his disobedience, the uber-controlling parents terrorize their offspring into submission. The father is the only family member who can leave the manicured lawns of their self-inflicted exile, earning their keep by managing a nearby factory, while the only outsider allowed on the premises is his colleague Christina, who is paid to relieve the son of his male urges. Tired of these dutiful acts of carnality, Christina enlists the elder daughter for some girl-on-girl action, carelessly disturbing the domestic balance. Soon enough, sex has spread throughout the household like fire. Next stop: rebellion. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Cannes Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, ...Dogtooth . ( Kynodontas ) ( Dog Tooth )
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DOGTOOTH concerns the story of an unknown, affluent family where the father (and a possibly slightly reluctant yet violent mother)have deemed it fit to isolate their three children completely from the outside world - they disorientate them by mis-naming everyday objects, distorting the association of objects from reality (airplanes that are only a few inches long, domestic cats that roam the outside world and kill at a whim) and subject them to random acts of sudden, shocking violence when they question this world view and attempt acts of spontaneity. Hence the children are primitive, childish, unable to grasp the World properly and act in ways the viewer will probably find outlandish. Also, no raison d'etre is given by director Giorgios Lanthimos why the parents would go to such absurd lengths to isolate and retard their children's development in such a way. Other plot points such as the father recruiting a female security guard at his workplace as a sexual partner for his son also seems rather hard to accept (Why would the guard, Caroline, accept? Does she not find the entire setup strange and alarming?). So you feel let out of the "joke" in a way, unless you approach the film as a Rabelaisian tale of the way society makes us behave, a way to look at the absurdity within ourselves.
The movie is also shocking at times - real sex, sudden bloody and realistic acts of violence, incest. They make the tale harsh and lurid, which increases it's effectiveness somewhat. You wouldn't want a story like this acted out in a staid Merchant-Ivory World, would you? So I, for one, found it powerful, shocking, and in some ways even entirely possible in some areas of Suburbia where we tend to turn a blind eye on other people's business. So, highly recommended then? As for any extras on the Blu-Ray : abysmal, nothing apart from the obligatory trailer which is a disgrace. At least a commentary / interview with Lanthimos and cast members so we can get to grips with the many puzzles on screen? Perhaps, just as well. Mystique is key here.
I have news for you filmmakers. It's not. It is not OK to make a TV series like Lost or films like this, and expect us to invest time and money in something that you couldn't get to work or couldn't quite finish. It's both lazy and annoying.
No matter how much you enjoy the bizarre events, the left of centre characters, the direction and cinematography and acting - the simple fact is you only stick with this film, which is fairly slow paced, because you want to see the outcome. You want an explanation.
You want to see the events that lead to, and reasons for, the strange situation being played out on screen, and to sit through this and be left with a load of unanswered questions is not cool.
Look, the film is pretty good. It grabs your attention and you're invested in it. There are some brilliant moments, but all in all, the whole thing was a pointless experience because there is no real ending and nothing is explained. For me at least, that's not good enough.
Good. Macabre. Twisted. Clever. Interesting even, but to sum up: Huh?
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