In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_sin_city_a_dame_to_kill_for_ver13

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" doesn't have the electricity of the original, mainly because we've already seen it. Nothing more is really revealed…

Thumb_pqlny7o714q2rle1gszmorzzjue

To Be Takei

“To Be Takei” is a conventional documentary that has a surprising emotional heft. A fun, informative exploration of the life of actor, activist and Trekkie…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Dogtooth

Dogtooth Movie Review
  |  

"Dogtooth” is a bizarre fantasy that takes the concept of home schooling to squirmy extremes. Some home schoolers try to limit what their children can learn, and others attempt to broaden it. The parents in “Dogtooth” have passed far beyond such categories, into the realms of home psychopathology.

No name is given for the family or any of its members. These involve a father, a mother, a brother and two sisters. They live in a large, affluent home behind a very high wall and a gate, which is always locked. Only the father ever leaves, driving to the factory he owns.

The others are prisoners, the mother apparently by choice. There is a large lawn and a swimming pool. The television set is used only to watch the family's home videos. The children have no idea of the outside world, where they are told man-eating cats roam. On the other side of the wall, they believe another brother lives, who they've never seen or heard.

Man-eating cats? Who knows? The film, which won the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes 2009, begins with a tape-recorded language lesson in which they're taught the wrong words for things. “Sea,” for example, is the word for the big leather armchair in the living room. Father is a stern taskmaster, free with stern reprimands and a hard slap or two. He also teaches all of his family members to get down on all fours and bark like dogs. He and Mother seem in complete agreement about their child-rearing methods, but never discuss them in detail.

The son is about 20, the daughters in their teens. To slake the boy's sexual needs, Father brings home a security guard from his factory, who has sex with the son with all the spontaneity and joy of tooth removal. This woman also trades a daughter some cheap jewelry in trade for some illicit licking.

The kids are so innocent, they decide that it's much the same no matter where you lick, and trade favors for licking legs, elbows and ears. Sex seems to have no meaning, not even when incest is suggested. The sickness of this family surpasses all understanding, and some have even described the film as a comedy. I wasn't laughing. All I can say of the ending is that it is certainly a possible outcome of the film, and gets much more than you would think out of a shot of the family car.

There is this. “Dogtooth” is like a car crash. You cannot look away. The Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos tells his story with complete command of visuals and performances. His cinematography is like a series of family photographs of a family with something wrong with it. His dialogue sounds composed entirely of sentences memorized from tourist phrase books. The message I took away was: God help children whose parents insanely demand unquestioning obedience to their deranged standards.

Popular Blog Posts

Different rules apply

White privilege, lived.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Ferguson, Missouri: Third World America vs. Atlas Shrugged

An FFC looks at the horrible situation in Ferguson, MO and what it says about where we are and where we're going.

Retrieving the Grail: Robin Williams and "The Fisher King"

An examination and appreciation of one of Robin Williams' greatest films, "The Fisher King."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus