Wednesday, May 12, 2004

New format! Huh. This seems pretty cool I guess.

DOGVILLE: Ladies and gentlemen, the movie by which I will be comparing all others this year is this incredible film directed by Lars von Trier. I've seen parts of BREAKING THE WAVES and I've never seen DANCER IN THE DARK, but I believe I'm going to have to rent them now. I will watch DOGVILLE again should it stay out another week. Nicole Kidman, in a way I can't describe, truly shows what a great actress she is. Even in films like MOULIN ROUGE, THE HOURS, or THE OTHERS there was still the whiff of a woman trying to prove that fact. Here, the performance is extremely well-controlled and I could actually forget that she was Nicole Kidman for awhile. The film is an "Our Town" type of setup, very minimalistic in nature--one wall with a large opening representing a window stands for a whole house. You can see the whole town, the inside of everyone's home, in one shot. The "outside" is a huge wall with different lighting representing day or night. There's chalk outlines notifying the viewer there's a dog here or gooseberry bushes there. Kidman's character Grace is found by Tom Edison (Paul Bettany) after he hears gunshots ring at the end of town. Edison, a philosopher/writer, tries to sell the town on keeping her safe by letting her stay. It's fairly light-hearted for awhile, and then the ugliness seeps in and the truth is found, ultimately leading to a dizzying climax. I really don't want to say much more about what happens, because being left in the dark about most of the details will ultimately make the film more satisfying. Everyone is good, and there are a lot of good actors here: Lauren Bacall, Jeremy Davies, Chloe Sevigny, Philip Baker Hall, Patricia Clarkson, Stellan Skarsgard, Ben Gazzara, and James Caan, to name most.


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