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Critics reviews
Lars von Trier Denmark, 2003
This complex relationship of the conditional and unconditional suggests that there is never a choice between modes of hospitality or forgiveness, that there is always a constant tension and negotiation between the two collapsible poles. If this is the case, is Grace’s continual forgiveness truly unconditional? Could not Grace’s infinite forgiveness of Dogville’s conditional hospitality… also be considered a form of thematizing violence?
July 22, 2005
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Say what you will about Lars von Trier—I won’t deny that he can be an obnoxious self-promoter, and at times…, a bad director—but he absolutely does not unthinkingly mimic the hand-me-downs of artistic expression. Does this automatically ascend von Trier to the realm of political filmmaking? I still don’t think so—there’s too much shock-the-bourgeoisie silliness remaining in his creative instincts—but it does make him capable of producing some brilliant social commentary.
April 12, 2004
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This experimental drama about the cruelty of a Rocky Mountain community toward a woman (Nicole Kidman) in flight from gangsters, shot with an all-star cast on a mainly bare soundstage, bored me for most of its 178 minutes and then infuriated me with its cheap cynicism once it belatedly became interesting—which may be a tribute to writer-director Lars von Trier’s gifts as a provocateur.
March 19, 2004
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As a study in the social, psychological and philosophical dimensions of hypocrisy and intolerance, it pounds home its somewhat obvious points. As an exercise in Brechtian distanciation – there’s a narration, with echoes of Thornton Wilder, beautifully intoned by John Hurt, and it’s all shot in a studio empty of everything except a few basic props – it’s gimmicky and never brought to a fruitful conclusion. And as drama it’s repetitive and overlong.
February 01, 2004
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Von Trier’s elegantly angry Dogville, despite its predilection for audience-goosing, is an exhilarating pilgrimage into Darkest Human Nature: as emotionally exacting as we’ve come to expect from the director, and as primally insinuating as well. As a technical exercise, it’s unimpeachable; each camera set-up, each metaphysical visual layer, each situational theater gambit validates the artform.
October 03, 2003
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