Urban Cinefile
"Good acting I think is like being a magician."  -Glenn Close
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

DOGMA

SYNOPSIS:
Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) works in an abortion clinic and as a disillusioned Catholic, feels abandoned by God. One night, she receives a visit from the angel Metatron (Alan Rickman), who asks her to undertake a big mission, to stop Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) - renegade angels banished from heaven to eternal exile in Wisconsin - who've discovered a loophole which would allow them back, in the form of a plenary indulgence to be granted by a church in New Jersey. If they succeed, the existence of the universe is threatened. She’s to be assisted by two prophets, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), the forgotten 13th apostle Rufus (Chris Rock) and a muse (Salma Hayek) who’s now working as a stripper. Got it?

"More than most, I suspect, I am really into theology and the whole god-search thing, on an intellectual level, though, not as a religious adherent. I am also a lapsed Catholic and a fervent atheist. Now you know where I am coming from. So this film covers familiar territory (to me) in its hefty argument about the Christian god and his/her angels. The fact that Kevin Smith wrote it years ago is no surprise, since it plays like an undergraduate debate about the subject of good and evil - with super-hip street cred and foul mouthed angels, as well as predictable pro and con arguments about the existence of god. It's cool, for example, to portray the arch angel Metatron as something of a better than average dressed London cockney with sideburns. (The voice of god, as he is called, just had to be English, Smith is quoted as saying, but he offers no rationale.) Our hero angels (Damon and Affleck) talk like Los Angeles actors out of work and the other characters are equally hip creations. Mind you, a lot of the talk is brilliantly written and the flight of fancy Smith employs is entertaining - though wearying at over two hours. Lose 35 minutes, make it a snappy joke and we'd be deleriously happy over our post-movie coffee as we chuckle over the visual and intellectual jokes. Fantastic yet laboured, Dogma is smart without being disciplined. You can call it self indulgent, even. The cast had fun, and we have fun - mostly. There are great fantasies employed, but there is a sense of pointlessness in the endeavour since the outcomes are abstract ideas, not human lives we have invested in. Good fun, good acting, funny stuff - but. . . "
Andrew L. Urban

"The old dinner party adage is to never discuss politics, sex or religion. Looks like Kevin Smith wasn’t listening to that one. After exploring sexuality in Chasing Amy, he takes on religion in a big way in Dogma. While the film was objected to in the US by certain religious groups, it’s obviously a parody - one made by someone who knows a lot about religion and, more to the point, believes. While the film takes aim at hypocrisy in organised religion, it’s reverential of Christianity’s core beliefs. Smith relies heavily on dialogue to get his message across - and there’s some wonderful riffs in Dogma (one between Loki and a nun is a classic). The film’s main problem is a lack of discipline in the editing. At over two hours, it could easily lose 20 minutes - and there are a few scenes that don’t work at all. But it’s lifted by an irrepressible sense of humour and some fine performances. Linda Fiorentino is outstanding as Bethany, a world-weary woman questioning her faith and her place in the world. She even manages to pull off some pretty silly stuff towards the end with aplomb. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are both great as the renegades and Chris Rock brings his usual frenetics to the production. A standout in the supporting cast is Alan Rickman, who’s refined and stylish even when being sprayed with a fire extinguisher. Despite a few flaws, Dogma is a vibrant parody; a daring rollercoaster ride that challenges all beliefs, even those of non-believers."
David Edwards

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

FEATURE

DOGMA (MA)
(US)

CAST: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman, Jeneane Garofalo, Chris Rock, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith

DIRECTOR: Kevin Smith

PRODUCER: Scott Mosier

SCRIPT: Kevin Smith

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert yeoman

EDITOR: Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier

MUSIC: Howard Shore

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robert 'Ratface' Holtzman

RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 3, 2000

VIDEO RELEASE: August 8, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017