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Matt's Dogtooth Review

Updated on May 12, 2011

Dogtooth is a film out of Cannes, and it has a 7.3 on IMDB.  I’d like to start off by saying, when I saw this film on the shelf of new releases at the library I had no reason not to pick it up.  Now I’m just glad I didn’t spend money on it.

Dogtooth is about a family, a father, a mother, two daughters and a son, living in isolation.  The mother and father are the only members of the family that actually know anything about the outside world.  The movie begins with the father bringing in a woman to satisfy the son’s sexual needs.  Sound disturbing?  Yes, I thought so too.  I thought it sounded like a semi-disturbing social commentary, perhaps related to the family unit; this is what drew me to the film in the first place.  Alas, if there was commentary going on in this film, it was lost on me.  The film begins with a sex scene between the mystery woman and the son – one of the worst sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie, including the stuff in A Clockwork Orange – and it only gets more disturbing from there until the point where it becomes just plain wrong, and the film goes on for about a half hour after that point.

Observations

- This film had a very raw, disconnected, and alien feel to it. That would be a flaw if it had been unintentional, but it was very intentional. The sex scenes mirror the feel of the film itself, raw, disconnected, and alien. The fact that all that was intentional doesn’t make it any less unpleasant to watch. And even that wouldn’t bother me if there was any entertainment value in this film whatsoever.

- The characters lead an odd and monotonous existence. The film attempts to put us in their shoes for 1.5 hours. The result? The film is somewhat boring. The monotony is punctuated only by some of the most unarousing sex scenes I have ever seen, some unintentionally funny moments of weirdness, and shocking acts of violence.

- I am against animal cruelty as a general rule, and it appears close to the top of a list of things I’d LEAST like to see in a film. For reasons best known to themselves, the parents have reared their children to be afraid of cats. This leads to a truly appalling scene of violence against an animal. I’d deduct 3 points off the score out of 10 just for that, but the movie doesn’t stop at animal cruelty.

- This film is like watching a freak show at a circus, except it’s less artful than that. The characters get up to some pretty weird stuff over the course of the film, completely culturally, even linguistically ignorant. What leads to the most disturbing stuff though is the fact that they have no understanding of what sex is or any of the realities that go along with it. Now all that goes along with the botched social commentary theory, except it was BOTCHED, so what you’re left with is a bunch of characters to feel sorry for, and no one to root for.

- The psychological repercussions of this freak show/social experiment lead to some weird and almost comical moments. Nothing that will make you laugh though, there are no positive feelings in this film. I spent much of the film’s runtime appalled by what I was seeing, and the rest of the time disgusted. At no point was I moved by this film, although I did pity the son and the daughters, I never identified with them, and I never rooted for them because they (SPOILER ALERT – as if anyone cares with a film this bad) never rebelled against the authority of their insane parents, and never overcame the circumstances of their upbringing.

- You who are reading this will want to take note that this is a foreign film, it’s in Greek. That wouldn't bother me except it means I had to read the subtitles, so I couldn’t look away, even when I really, REALLY wanted to.

Performances

I suppose the performances were ok, nothing stood out to me. I was a little too busy being weirded out and grossed out to notice the performances.

Music, Cinematography and Special Effects

- There was no score in this film, and hardly any music of any kind to be found at all. There was one Frank Sinatra song, and I felt a swell of pity as the father proceeded to falsely translate the lyrics. None of the kids spoke English, so they had no way of knowing he was lying. As a Frank Sinatra fan, I was way beyond appalled.

- What can you say about the cinematography, when the movie takes place almost entirely in one location? The well-kept lawn, the in-ground pool, and the nice clean house got uglier by the minute. I was shifting in my seat, checking my watch, seriously, I felt less stir-crazy watching Phone Booth – which, of course took place almost entirely in a Phone Booth.

- What Special Effects? Oh, the sex scenes were all too convincing (and not the least bit titillating) I assure you. Gross!

The Bottom Line

I don’t remember the last time I watched a movie and was so disappointed.  I expected Twilight to be bad, I EXPECTED Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to be high on action and low on plot, but I expected more than grossness and endless amounts of weirdness from this film.  This film is beyond ugly, it’s grotesque!  I can’t stress enough, I feel like the filmmakers were attempting to make a point of some kind, but I just don’t see it, and there is absolutely no entertainment value in this film whatsoever.  It is a waste of celluloid and a complete waste of time.  So, for the love of God, take my advice, do yourself a favor, and watch something else.  ANYTHING ELSE!  0/10

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