Sigh_. It feels like all the films I’ve been watching, I just loathe. Though, this one I loathe a little less than "_2 or 3 Things":http://www.theauteurs.com/reviews/19171 . We’ll start with the good: The set design, top notch. At first I was against it, and hoped it’d become something more traditional, but eventually I became accustomed to the set, and took in the magnificent detail and creativity that went into it. This is truly a film that would set apart an Art Director and Production Designer.
NOTE: Spoilers will come at this point.
Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let’s dig into the negative: What the fuck, von Trier??! This is three hours of misogyny punctuated with a night cap of misanthropy. Am I supposed to believe that you’re Gung-ho for women because you set things straight with this ending? You basically demean poor Nicole Kidman in every fashion imaginable, only to be saved by — wait for it — her Dad? A man!? She couldn’t come to her brilliant epiphany all her own? These are the things that drive me mad with von Trier. We’ll use this to segue into Antichrist a little bit. Antichrist is also a film about misogyny. It’s to show how von Trier understands the female creature, but in actuality, all he does it show his contempt.
Back to Dogville. Nicole Kidman, I can stand to be in her presence, all I really remember her for is that nose in The Hours, but her performance in this, isn’t bad or anything, but is far from the brilliant performance I was expecting. This seems to be a recurring theme in von Trier’s films. Dancer in the Dark, Antichrist, these are performances that are, at best, okay, but are punctuated with a scene, a scene of grave importance, which completely nullifies the prior however-many-minutes of dullness. Okay, I may be a bit harsh on poor Charlotte Gainsbourg, but Bjork? C’mon. That was Bjork, being Bjork. Nothing special. I digress.
The camera work. At times it’s great. At times it’s just annoying Dogme 95 shit. Couple that with the “French New Wave” style editing. Jump cuts galore which serve no purpose, nor do they flatter the performances, if anything, they only bring notice to their performance and how lackluster they could be. I really didn’t get the editing decisions, not at all.
This isn’t a horrible film. It has moments of pure joy, and honestly, the ending is rewarding. I came to care (a little) for Nicole Kidman’s character, even amidst my incessant eye rolling and heavy sighing, so to see her get her Just Desserts made me smile. But the lead up to it, really took too long. But if you’re a von Trier fan (which I most definitely am not) you should enjoy this.