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Dogtooth 2009

  • 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 to satisfy his son’s sexual urges, the family’s engineered "reality" begins to crumble with devastating consequences. Like the haunting, dystopic visions of Michael Haneke and Gaspar Noé, 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


3 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 (45)

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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.

4 members like this review
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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.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

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.

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

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

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

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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But funny if you like that

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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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??

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top reviewer

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

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

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

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...

 

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