April 25, 2011 1 Comment
Alright, if you were able to make it through the trailer of this movie then read on. If you were revolted by the trailer and the subject matter it showed, then this movie will not be for you in the slightest. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I just decided to watch this on Netflix a few nights ago. I remember hearing about Dogtooth being nominated for an Oscar this year and was perplexed by the entry of the Greek film. A lot of film blogs were also perplexed by its inclusion given its graphic subject matter. Dogtooth came out in 2009, so it took almost two years for it to garner the attention it has and this added to my intrigue.
I am not certain where I should begin with this movie. First is the classification of the movie. To me, this is an extremely dark “comedy”, drama, and horror movie rolled into one film. I use horror in more of the shock value that the movie adds. It isn’t gory, but the violence that takes place in the movie and what you see in the trailer is just visceral and real. The shock and horror come from how casual it takes place int he movie and that is frightening.
I really can’t give a plot synopsis over the movie, since the writing style and plot jumps around a bit. Best I can say is that the movie centers around a Greek family and their lives in isolation. The family is comprised of a mother, father, two daughters and a son. The mother and father have isolated the children from the outside world, basically molding their children into this deranged ideal of perfection. The children are told that they would be able to leave the confines of the house only if their “dogtooth” comes out. Only then will they leave the house. For a more complete synopsis click here.
My synopsis doesn’t really dive into the psychological aspects of the movie. The parents of the children are deranged, even if they feel that they are well intentioned. The parents want their children to fear the world and in a sense, be dependent on the parents for comfort. The parents incorrectly teach the kids word meanings, “zombies” mean to them “a small yellow flower”. There is even the scene with the small cat and the father explaining that it is the most dangerous creature on Earth. The parents even control the base needs of all grown up teens or adults. The father goes to great lengths to satisfy the sexual needs of the son by bringing in an outside female to do the deed. The parents are striving to create perfectly dependent children. Shaping them to fit into their life, such as the wedding anniversary scene.
It really is hard to describe this film. A lot of the examples I have given take place at different points in the movie, so the continuity of these examples are all over the place. Overall I found myself both engaged and shocked by the movie. The violence, the tense family moments and just the overall tone of the movie was something that took me by surprise. I don’t want to deter people from watching this movie. I think everyone should view the movie at some point. This is a great Greek film and showcases the talent that is rarely seen by most people since Greek cinema isn’t this powerhouse in the film world. It is a beautifully shot movie and stylish. I think the way the director frames a lot of the movie helps enhance what we see, whether that is the violence or the way the parents lord over their children. You get scenes where the parents are bestowing some life lesson to the kids, but the framing of the scene doesn’t show the parents face, but rather a faceless entity that commands them.
I will say this movie is not for everyone. I have seen a lot, A LOT of movies in my time and this is one where I found it uneasy to watch at certain points. Hell I like Lars von Trier films and those are considered very difficult movies to watch, Anti-Christ being right up there in visceral movie category. If you are feeling up to the task, Dogtooth brings to light the dysfunctional nature of families with just over the top, scathing scenes of violence. Some describe the movie as a satire on the family structure and teachings we can bestow on young minds. We believe that the safest place to shield us from the horrors of the outside world is with the family. Dogtooth teaches you to fear family.
The movie is available on Netflix to stream so do yourself a favor and give it a look. I think this is a movie that has to be experienced and talked about.