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also known as Kynodontas

Dogtooth2009

  • 4.1
  • passes the bechdel test
Graceful, enigmatic and often frightening, DOGTOOTH is an ingenious dark comedy that won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, propelling Yorgos Lanthimos to the forefront of contemporary cinema's most ambitious young filmmakers. In an effort to protect their three children from the corrupting influence of the outside world, a Greek couple transforms their home into a gated compound of cultural deprivation and strict rules of behavior. But children cannot remain innocent forever. When the father brings home a young woman, the family's engineered "reality" begins to crumble with devastating consequences. Like the haunting, dystopic visions of Michael Haneke and Gaspar Noпїs, DOGTOOTH punctuates its compelling drama with moments of shocking violence, creating a biting social satire that is as profound as it is provoctative. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.

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"...occasionally unpleasant, intermittently gory and laden with sexual situations that are frank, odd and uncomfortable. But it's this sort of unpredictable oddness that makes the film such a provocative experience." - Scott Weinberg, Cinematical


10 members like this review

One of the best movies I've ever seen minute-for-minute. Laugh if you dare. A brilliant idea, dripping red with commentary. The implications of privacy, of family culture, etc. Draw your own conclusions. The filmcraft makes it possible to bear witness to the most unsettling moments in the film, which are plentiful and surprising.

It's interesting to read reviews on this film disturbed by the portrayal of "bad parenting." I think on layer of this film is about "ALL" parenting. Sorry moms and dads, but this is you.

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Member Reviews (77)

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top reviewer

One of the best movies I've ever seen minute-for-minute. Laugh if you dare. A brilliant idea, dripping red with commentary. The implications of privacy, of family culture, etc. Draw your own conclusions. The filmcraft makes it possible to bear witness to the most unsettling moments in the film, which are plentiful and surprising.

It's interesting to read reviews on this film disturbed by the portrayal of "bad parenting." I think on layer of this film is about "ALL" parenting. Sorry moms and dads, but this is you.

10 members like this review
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top reviewer

A contemporary take on one of humanity's oldest stories on parenting. Ever since Prince Gautama Siddharta (Gautama Buddha) whose parents did everything they could to keep the young prince from knowing the misery of human condition, raising walls between your children and the outside world always turned against the parents. The element added by director Yorgos Lanthimos in "Dogtooth" is the abusive nature of the father.

Far from being funny, or even darkly funny, "Dogtooth" is the story of a misguided father who, after losing one son, decides to "protect" his other three children by never allowing them to interact with the outside world. Their life as young adults is mechanical, repetitive, and suffocating, and leads them to sexual experimentation amongst themselves (the father provides only the boy with a sex partner, who ends up being the one who inadvertently introduces the eldest daughter to outside movies), as well as self-inflicted pain (typical for children raised in a narcissistic family environment).

In its treatment of some of the more sensitive issues (such as the incest scene between the brother and the eldest sister), "Dogtooth" and its director do not rise to the occasion and leave the viewer with the strange feeling that things were left unsaid.

All in all, "Dogtooth" has some of the important ingredients of a strong film: very good story, excellent actors, but not so a director capable of telling that story in a remarkable way.

5 members like this review
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A great work of art. There are so many levels of truth telling in this film. There is use of language and visuals in mixed metaphors, symbols devoid of reference, and stripping experience of emotion, morality and desire. Other strategies are used, too, like making the viewer feel that this is someone's dream open for interpretation--Let's just say what we are really thinking. In one scene, we see the son facing a bush in the garden, and he begins telling of how he used air freshener, and [nature] never could clean dirt as well as he has: Was this a confession to nature, his dead brother over the fence, or completely meaningless? The film isn't about the human experience and suffering, but proof that logic and rationale can be completely arbitrary amidst patriarchy, hypocrisy, and corruption. Only the dog family members understand their shared language of submission and power: one has to remain in the pack. The avant garde seems random, but it's rebellion. At the same time, this story isn't whimsical: it is very consistent and deliberate. Only art could portray how completely mad the world is.

3 members like this review
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Whenever you think of a film that has no story presently upfront and bluntly handed to you, often you are left to your own devices. Left to make up the story. Well with Dogtooth, your story still sucks compared to what the film is about. The film is very much a methodical and plotted out film with a twist for every scene and a surprise with every line of dialogue. The cinematography is fantastic. It holds up and makes films of the same year seem lacking. What will get you every second is the acting. Holy shit. Never have I seen a film in the last decade that hit me like Dogtooth did. Forget this is a foreign film. The film transcends this boundary. Making it universal.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Perhaps Dogtooth should be viewed as dark comedy but I saw the imaginings of what Western cultures have become. It was very instructive on many levels - but most interesting was the film's reminder of the degree of human detachment that comes out of a pathological and dehumanizing paternalism.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

A brilliant work of surrealism. You are engulfed into its bizarre world.

2 members like this review

Lanthimos weaves an uncomfortable, nightmarish tale with a stark, uncompromising style. This is a director who is in total control of his medium. Unfortunately for the viewer, his dedication to austerity robs the film of its momentum. A disturbing rape scene is the least of our worries as we struggle with the plodding pace; Lanthimos opts too readily for minimalist understatement, offering too few displays of his frightening virtuosity. The actors do an admirable job with a disappointing script, and the viewer truly feels immersed in their claustrophobic world - but just like the characters, viewers may find that this world is short on rewards.

2 members like this review

Very realistic portrayal of a family lost in its own good intentions.

2 members like this review

I'm lukewarm on this movie, frankly. As a metaphor on imprisonmnent and the mangling of language by authority to exert control, it hits all the expected buttons, but it's not particularly subtle. It's well-acted and staged; the photography and set design all work well to establish a kind of comfortable blandness with which the naked exertion of control masks its brutal efficiency. But it doesn't offer any new insights on the nature of power. Like a lot of dystopian fables, it's cheerless and creepy, but it didn't engage me emotionally.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

This was the third time i have attempted to see it, this time I made it all the way thru. Since I don't think Mr. Moreira was out to break any box office records, and made this film of his vision, no matter how "jarring" it may be to some, It retains it's artistic integrity, which is why so many festival judges liked it. Here's what happens when you play GOD, is a hard lesson to watch or to learn.

1 member likes this review

O..........K.......... I've seen my share of strange independent films, as I don't back away from them, but this one has got to be in the top 3 strangest films I've ever seen... Disturbing as hell too... It was definitely original and well acted but just not feeling so much--except as a kind-of disturbing metaphor. The total deception "reality" that the parents hold over their children, can be seen as an allegory, for the deception world societies hold over their entire populations via the control of globalist secret societies. This deeper meaning in the film leads me to give it a 4 star rating. I hope people see this deeper level of meaning within this film and wake the hell up to the covert fascist global government that has and is continuing to take over the world...

1 member likes this review

It's equal parts disturbing and fascinating. A really jarring, bizarre film that makes you feel traumatized after watching it. And yet, it's somehow genius, from the premise alone to the full realization of the film. I saw this years ago and I still think about it a lot. Frighteningly absorbing, darkly clever, amusing in a depraved way. The acting is pitch-perfect, the storyline horrifically mesmerizing, and the strikingly original twists in the plot will have you anxiously trying to guess what will happen next while you dread what the next surprise will be. I think it will always haunt me.

1 member likes this review

Some movies carry a lesson, a moral, a message. The intent is clear and well-stated. Dogtooth doesn't. I kept expecting the world to be somehow meaningfully linked to our own - political, social - but it never happened. It's simply a rich, carefully constructed, precise, nightmare world that exists separately to our own. If any analogy exists the viewer must decide for themselves.

1 member likes this review

Breathtakingly different and fascinating, Lanthimos gives us an ultra dark fantasy in order to see our own world in a different light. Very funny, "Dogtooth" sticks with you long after viewing.

1 member likes this review

The parents are like religious authority figures (Church) while the children (the flock) are kept in a state of ignorance "for their own good". It's clear how this turns out and how hard it is to break out.

1 member likes this review

_Was_ this film about poor parenting? Felt more like a film about abductees.

1 member likes this review

Warning : Ingredients include amplified absurdities,dysfunctional family settings and some hard truths.This serves as a rather lurid example of how a parent's will to protect his/her children from a corrupt society by creating their own safe haven with their own "acceptable" rules, can transmogrify into a horrid beast of its own.Children led solely by this kind of whim, where they are taught blindingly irrational morals, latch on to several vices of their own,ultimately leading to one child's attempt to violently break free from it all.

1 member likes this review
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filmmaker

A weird, creative, dark but still funny movie.

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top reviewer

For me the film was quite stomach turning which seemed a very apt way to underscore what I thought the film maker was driving at. To me it seemed the family patriarch, seeming to be either an owner or CEO of a large factory, seemed to be a kind of stand-in for the corporatist controlled world power structure. For me, the father clearly being an industrialist of some sort then seemed to be a clear indicator of the intent the filmaker had that this not just be about family power relations and what happens when they become dysfunctional. The father not allowing his kids to know anything about the outside world being essentially the way the education system and the mass media more and more spin fib upon fib into order to control the way people perceive the world as the father in this film tried to control his children. For me, therein lay the humor of this film, imagining a future or dare I say a present where most of the planet is run by people promulgating lies as ludicrous as the parents in the film did and then going through the same kinds of bizarre contortions and secondary lies to uphold the previous lies ad nauseum. It was as though the filmaker were saying, this is us, or this is you people who obey your bosses and believe the media and don't question what you're told and taught. So, seemed rather satirical this movie. I liked that and agree if indeed that was the filmaker's point. I was especting a weirder funnier movie based on reviews I read, but it was not really weirdness but the weirdness of certain forms of cruelty which are not really that funny at the end of the day.

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totally bizarre & painful_hard to fathom the mind of the parents in this film it's so sick_they are insane & taking their children with them & they are clueless_but that aside i think it's a brilliant film & i've seen it a few times

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"Lanthimos is the new Kubrick." John C. Reilly

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The meaning or meanings of Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth are something of debate between those who love it. I love it.

I'm not sure that Yorgos Lanthimos had one clear meaning or meanings to express other than to explore a situation in which individual identity has been formed within the limited framework his/her environment creates.

In some ways it is almost cinematic metaphor for the fears and the needs for parents' determination to protect their children from the dangers and threats of the world to which they have been born.

No matter how you want to look at Dogtooth, it is a compelling, provocative, subversive and disturbing examination of a reality restricted, formed and subverted by another.

Surrealistic and almost absurdist in the way information is usually conveyed with deadpan precision. As "protection" and "defense" creep into profane and perverse choices -- one of the individual's decides to fully rebel without any real understanding of even the most minor aspects of life.

Environment, culture and society has found a full-proof way to render "rebellion" ineffectual.

An amazing work of art.

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I just really didn't care for this at all. The Village by M. Night was way better.

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Yorgas Lanthimos' Dogtooth ( 2009) is a VERY POOR excuse for a film, in my opinion. It portrays a social situation that is so very highly improbable, and so full of internal contradictions, that it could NEVER happen in real life. As such, this film can't even be called some kind of commentary on family life because it only bears a very superficial resemblance to actual family life at all. As such, this film definitely belongs in the Fantasy genre. But the fantasy portrayed in this film is a veritable "freak show" and, as such, the only value that I can attribute to it is the entertainment value of viewing a "freak show", just like the actual "freak shows" of the 19th Century, where people paid money for a chance to gawk and gape at poor, unfortunate people born with a severe birth defect, or with a severe genetic anomaly. But, sorry, I myself just see no entertainment value, no "fun" in gaping and gawking at such SICK portrayals of human life. That this film won so many film awards would be utterly laughable to me, were it not such a tragic commentary on the state of Western Culture.

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No.

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It's rare that I come up emptyhanded on a film, but for Dogtooth, I've got NOTHIN'. Watch at your own risk.

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That ending dance is all I need for me to convince someone as to they should watch this film.

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Disturbing and brutal, yet you can NOT look away. This film was awesome. Highly recommend it.

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top reviewer

Wouldn't watch this one a second time, a dark cartoon of a story about an incestuous family.

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top reviewer

this movie can be read on many different level, one of them is philosophical/existential and relates to human live. Very very profound, although disturbing at the same time

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??

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top reviewer

Unimpressive. Especially when the subtitle asks a mother to pass the phone, and she passes the salt.

That's not a mistake with the subtitles. The parents are purposely teaching their children the wrong names for items to keep them sheltered.

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But funny if you like that

It's obvious the inspiration for 'Dogtooth' is the European Union. This microcosm EU has the same fenced-in sickness that refuses to allow its members to exercise independence in financial, diplomacy, trade and defense. These member-nations are conditioned to depend on rewards (bailouts) and punishments ( industry restrictions). Violence meted out to the family members is represented by the Doberman, as yet unleashed (European Army). But there is still the rebellious daughter who seeks to escape (Visegrad nations). Inside the EU also lurks the high-salaried pedophiles and sex traffickers. This is a disgusting movie but so is the European Union.

edge of the seat kinda movie..uncomfortable..weird..wouldn't watch again..but definitly worth a watch..

A majority of my viewing probably consisted of "What the fuck am I watching".

But direction wise, it was great. A visual and narrative pleasure to watch unfold.

Fantastic and very very original, which seems to be rare these days.

Please stop these people from making films.

What a ride! Dogtooth certainly isn't for everyone. It's slow pace and ultimately disturbing themes can make it an honestly painful and uncomfortable watch, but I found myself completely engulfed within this film. Crazy parents keeping their children barricaded from the outside world and all of its influences. That is a concept I can get behind. The small details within this outrageous story line beckon you to laugh, though you may feel bad about it. Lanthimos has no problem taking this film by the balls and forcing it in your face. He shows he has no trouble setting a very eerie and tense tone as he strips the film of musical score and lets the camera linger on shots that make you cringe. I personally had a great time with Dogtooth and my hats off to Lanthimos for producing such a bold and original film. This movie really makes you feel that Lanthimos has little regards to how his movies are perceived, as he is simply doing what comes naturally to him. Kudos.

Makes no sense, stupid and violent

I think this is one of the weirdest films I've ever seen but I loved every single minute of it. You don't know where it's going but that doesn't matter -- just go along for a strange and joyous ride.

Terrific film! And as usual when something this original grabs me, it leaves me with a hunger for more...originality. So difficult in this world, of course, to make interesting films because finance people are afraid of that. Three cheers for Lanthimos, who has accomplished just that. See it if only for the startling performance of its talented young star who passed away last year.

Quirky, sicko family devolves into pointless violence.

Bizarre movie telling storie about bizarre family. I'll remember this. Really nice cinematography in this movie also.

Nominated in 2011 for Academy Award for foreign film. Lost to (In a Better World.) In my opinion it should have won.

"This black comedy is less a satire than a series of banal wish-fulfillment fantasies baking in the shadowless suburban sun. The narrative serves as a test-run for the theory that too little exposure to a cynical world is worse than too much. Either that or this is how we really are; infantilized by creature comforts, intergenerational lies, and excessive security, the mangled shadowplay of our projected horizons lurks within us."

Dogtooth is the movie that I think many cynics sadistically wanted the contrastingly chipper documentary The Wolfpack to be, if only to confirm their own jaded expectations of what insular family life truly stands for. These two movies are day and night, albeit with fortuitously corresponding canine-titles. However, both affirm the power of filmic expression to cut through oppression, Dogtooth a particularly acrid antidote indeed. The starch-white light, clean cinematography, and monotone, conditioned acting belie the angsty violence that punctures through this unflinchingly family-unfriendly story. Perhaps this film could even be appropriately titled "My Life as a Dog." But all the same, Dogtooth does serve for biting satire indeed.

An aside: Dogtooth was great, but Lanthimos' later 2015 The Lobster was a much more amazing and watchable animalistically-titled film, vibrant and fast-paced. Even if you didn't like the silent and understated Dogtooth, you may like the chattier and fantastically Lobster, an equally insightful and surreal critique of social systems.

What I love about all of Yorgos' films is that they start with some simple part of civilization and then spin that out into absurdity to highlight emotions and issues that we often try to ignore. Dogtooth is a wicked portrait of what family means.

Funny and brutalizing. The way I wish acting always was. Obviously a film not made for everyone, but it fits my taste and that's all I can say.

My first exposure to Greek cinema was certainly a worthwhile experience, one I never expected and yet it was everything I hoped it would be. I have a feeling the responses to this film may vary widely depending on generational differences between audience members because the director doesn't shy away from depicting a psychopathic father, nor a feeble mother stripped of all control over her children. As is the traditional power dynamic, the father is the head of the household, and he is the one that generates the mayhem. A tale of a man so paranoid, so fearful, so bereft of empathy for the outside world that he makes his children recluses out of spite alone, or so I believe. Why, I don't know, because, like many of the finer aspects of the film, the motivations behind many of the actions are left for us to interpret alone. A complex system of deception and falsehood does not craft good parents, nor does it evoke a semblance of understanding or environment of safety. The grand, underlying meanings of the film are to be teased, wheedled out of the medium, but, be warned, whatever symbolic interpretation you may gather will not be the only, nor the fullest, nor the strongest, analysis of this cinematic masterpiece. It is grotesque at times, darkly funny at others, sometimes devoid of reason or human emotion, yet at all times is it deliberate and methodical in its quest to tell a frightful tale of extremist ideology and wildly imaginative scenarios.

Very repellent. Very misanthropic. Very terrifying. A comedy?? Ha!

OK, both my wife and I "LIKED" this movie. It is weird. It is very heady and does make a statement about creating your own safe haven, authority and willing blindness. It is not a funny movie, some of the absurdities presented are cute, some sad and others are down right disturbing.

I do feel that it falls somewhat short in that it didn't really make me see things in a new light or challenge my beliefs. It merely reinforced my thinking. Perhaps if I was more directly involved / affected by the Greek economic mess it would speak stronger.

As other reviewers have said, draw you own conclusions, apply your own world view......

This one was hard to watch from start to finish. But glad I did.

Interesting story about obsession for protection and consequent restriction of freedom. What happens when knowledge is submitted to security and words are disjointed from their original meaning? A tale that applies to families as much as to society as a whole, DOGTOOTH is a dark-comedy that its actually so realistically depicted and seriously acted that won't make you laugh anymore. Disturbing and metaphorically hyperreal it will leave you many levels of interpretations open.

Clearly a Classic.

Ripstein's El castillo de la Pureza in its contemporary and slightly humorous version. Great movie!

i want show porn film

Variatoin on Truman Show. Wooof!

Very good

Interesting, a little frightening, with an abrupt ending.

Story line was somewhat inconsistent. The self-schooling seemed to suggest the children had a degree of intelligence, but apparently were lacking in curiosity about the outer world? The mother seemed somewhat intelligent, but did not use it with her children. Weird story...

love it

Strange and interesting movie. Surprisingly engaging even though it is on the weird improbable side.

May well be the weirdest narrative I've ever suffered. I loved it. I hated it.

A Greek tale of homeschooling used to totally isolate children from the world, taken to an extreme ... captivating, intense, perverse, darkly humorous, with a hint of redemption at the end.

very strange

too violent

I missed that this was a comedy, but it was great for other reasons.

Nature, sterilized by domiance

It makes one think about ones customs and human nature and the power of authority figures over our lives.

It sucks. It's a pretentious, EXTREMELY boring movie that has hypnotized highbrow critics who mistake originality for film art. I'll give Greek cinema another chance, but to read about the orgasmic accolades in Greece because the movie was nominated for a best foreign fil Oscar is pathetic

solid good film: story, acting, cinematography, editing.

Great film.

I don't have the slightest clue what this film was susposed to say other than strict rules and nude people not having fun with sex.....NO rating..

Fascinating film, but ultimately somewhat hollow.

Overrated, big time!

brilliant.

DISTURBING AND SAD, INNOCENCE MOLDED INTO PERVERSION BECAUSE OF IMPROPER PARENTING...