Dogtooth, the weirdest movie Greece has ever made
(This is a guest review from our very own Kimmie)
It sometimes seems that with reviews, you have either the “OMFG You Guys! Watch This!!1!” review, or you have the “This is so Bad, it’s Awful! No, It’s really that Bad! Do Not Watch!’ review. This is particularly the case with movies that folks haven’t seen, because you don’t want to spoil the story. Well, I write this review standing betwixt the two forms of reviews, and I’m not sure who might want to watch this. But it’s worth talking about — I hope. This is a movie that is hard to watch, and deliberately so. It is a movie fond of doubletakes, and revisions to “what the audience knows…”
Cinematography: This movie is shot in “hidden camera” mode, which sometimes cuts off people’s heads and feet. It’s fixed POV (no zooms), and lack of panning make the whole film a bit awkward. This film is deliberately hard to watch — and not because of the subject matter.
Pacing: The film unfolds in a lethargic fashion, scenes are slow, and clues are dropped well before they snap into focus. Yet, this isn’t a movie you have to see twice to understand. Everything is clear by the bittersweet end.
Translation: I watched this subtitled and they were great. However, watching it subtitled led to substantially more confusion, with a movie already playing with meanings.
Ratings: I feel compelled to mention that there is a surprising amount of maturity required to watch this movie — and that it isn’t required where you would initially expect it to be (*cough* arthouse flicks have sex *cough*).
Recommended For: Those who appreciate a challenging movie to watch.
Not Recommended For: Small Children. Animal Lovers.
Watch out: Spoilers follow
So, a bit of a discussion for either those who have seen this flick, or who haven’t been sufficiently entranced by my review to go out and watch it. Or those who have decided, “nope, not for me.”
This movie is a prime example for why reviewers should actually check their biases at the door. I swear, a good deal of them wanted to make this out as something about homeschooling (a brief wikipedia search doesn’t even mention Greece as having homeschooling).
This movie will feel quite a bit different to folks from the country, I suspect. If you grew up with the nudist colony (or the Hari Krishnas) just down the road, this may feel like a slice of a somewhat twisted life. Hell, you may have heard of something worse, or seen something worse.
However, for those of us citified people, it feels like cruising into an alternate dimension. I think one of the most colorful lines in the flick is “Mom! I’ve found two zombies!” as the lad plucks two small yellow flowers from the backyard.
This movie is distinct, and doesn’t hold back its punches. I’m not sure it makes it a good movie to watch, though. Not only is it hard to watch, it’s also slow. And the children’s innocence is downright creepy. The kids seemingly don’t know much about sex, about the real world, about the impossibility of their mother deciding not to have kids, about even hurting each other. This movie is neither mindblowing nor heartrending, but it is downright disturbing.