Dogville [DVD] 
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Unusual, theatrical drama by pioneering director Lars Von Trier, co-founder of the Dogme film movement - which uses pared-down filming techniques inspired by Bertolt Brecht. The entire film is shot on a bare wooden sound stage without special effects or artificial lighting, the streets and homes are drawn in chalk, and characters come and go through imaginary doors. All the characters are on stage all the time, whether they are involved in a scene or not, and the story is narrated throughout by John Hurt. An intense study of an incomer to an isolated community, the film stars Nicole Kidman as Grace, a beautiful fugitive with a dangerous secret. Arriving in the small town of Dogville in the Rocky Mountains in the 1930s, she offers her services to the people of the town in return for a safe place to hide. The townsfolk (played by Paul Bettany, Patricia Clarkson, Ben Gazzara, Chloe Sevigny, Blair Brown and Lauren Bacall among others) reluctantly agree to shelter Grace for two weeks. But as it becomes increasingly dangerous to harbour her, they come to expect favours from Grace, and the more she gives, the greater her obligations become.
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Top Customer Reviews
Filmed on a minimal set, where the street and houses are represented by mere chalk lines, and with characters that almost seem like sketches of characters at first, it uses the minimalism to good effect, to produce a complex and subtle tale which is driven by the characters and the story rather than the physical impedimenta. It allows a deeper insight into the motivations of each character. And the minimalist set has the great effect of keeping most of the characters on screen and visible for most of the film, even when they are not directly involved. Watching them going about their normal lives in the background is almost as fascinating as the front of stage story. Hats off to Lars Von Treir and all of the actors, they put in so much effort you really do start to believe that this IS an ordinary town and not just a series of chalk mark in a playground.
The story is that of Nicole Kidman's Grace, who stumbles into the town under mysterious circumstances. The town agree to shelter her, on their terms which become increasingly unbearable. The film builds slowly towards a disturbing climax. It's got a great rhythm, drawing you along from minor event to minor event, working its way slowly up to a giant crescendo of an ending that will leave you exhausted.Read more ›
It is the more subtle touches that stick in my mind, such as the Latin inscription above the mine (no sooner said than done) and the references to changes in light - the inexplicable way situations in life can change for no apparent reason. I also think it's a good analogy of village life - nice on the surface, but a whole lot of venom awaits anybody who challenges the status quo.
Like many of Von Trier's films the pace builds to a nightmarish crescendo. A whole book could be written analysing this film's message and one of the characters was even attempting to do this. Self referencing, tragic, in fact all the director's traits that you know and love.
The film is beautifully Narrated by John Hurt but story is very sad indeed & makes u question how people are so easily corrupted by greed, lust & hatred. Nevertheless, Lars always manages to end his films in a way you could never have imagined & boy, what an ending it is!!!.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lars von Trier’s Dogville (2003) is a concentrated blend of subtle storytelling and stylish filmmaking. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Garry Pope
Terrible - everyone gets more & more unpleasant and nobody learns anything worthwhile. Avoid.Published 1 month ago by Rev. Andy
Simplicity to the max. Just as such a great movie with a brilliant plot and a - happy ? - ending. This movie is a total surprise as it evolves around the question, whether we as... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Martin
Nicole Kidman shines in this film. She often is denied the chance in films where she should be better showcased, like 'Eyes Wide Shut'. But she acts her stockings off in this. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael J.