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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Dogville

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson
Director: Lars von Trier
Rated: R
RunTime: 177 Minutes
Release Date: March 2004
Genres: Drama, Foreign, Suspense

*Also starring: Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown, James Caan, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall, Thom Hoffman

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

Running a painfully long three hours, DOGVILLE is pretentious with a capital "P." It is an art house picture by writer/director Lars von Trier, who burst into international acclaim with his shaky-cam classic, BREAKING THE WAVES, but whose big follow-up picture, DANCER IN THE DARK, made both best and worst of the year lists, sometimes in the same publication.

Told in an exaggerate blend of "Our Town" sparseness and a middle school play's cheapness, the movie takes place exclusively on a large stage which has stenciled names ("Dog," "Bushes, "Old Mine," etc.) on the floor where the sets would be in a normal movie. The top-notch cast (Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown, James Caan, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Ben Gazzara and Philip Baker Hall) are all wasted save John Hurt who provides the beautifully sonorous narration. The only other good part of the production is the dreamy classical music.

The central character of this glacially paced film is Grace (Kidman), a fugitive with alabaster hands who comes to take refuge in the small town of Dogville. Tom Edison (Bettany) gets his fellow townsfolk to agree, albeit reluctantly, to let her stay there for a few weeks.

This tedious movie will put most ticket-paying customers to sleep, no matter how many critics continue to sing its praises like it's a masterpiece. It's also pretty irritating. After a while I got to thinking that, if Tom were to open and shut one more non-existent door, I'd puke.

DOGVILLE runs a ridiculously long 2:57. It is rated R for "violence and sexual content" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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