REVIEWED
6/1/03

STORY



LOOK

Dogma
Director: Kevin Smith
Year: 1999
TRT: 2:10


If you're gonna lay down theology on the unsuspecting masses, this is the way to do it (though, in all rights, the movie is called Dogma). Despite its Catholic bent, it still is a good, well, dramatic comedy (comedic drama?!?). It's no Oh God, You Devil!, but definitely has a good balance between the humor and the plot to keep it from becoming too pretentious. Plus I've kind of been in the same mind-set as of late, so I enjoyed the movie much more this time around than when seeing it in the theater.

How to accurately describe this movie? It's basically a look at religion, specifically Catholicism, through the eyes of some of the "major" and not so relevant players. Luckily it isn't too heavy-handed, and can be typical of Smith's somewhat "vulgar" side. Eh? What's that? I dunno, fuck 'em. Anyways, a woman is somewhat disenchanted with her views on God, and wonders why she even continues to go to church. Then a Seraphim shows up and causes her to be even more disoriented than she already was. It becomes a trial of faith, and what she is willing to subject herself to. In the meantime, there's two "fallen" angels that reside on earth, and are looking for a way back into heaven. And to make things even stickier, an escaped demon is doing his best to screw up pretty much everything to stay out of hell.

The subject matter is handled well, I think, with some great performances here, specifically Alan Rickman, Jason Lee, and Chris Rock as the 13th apostle. I'm not a big fan of Rock's usually acerbic style, but it fits perfectly with this film. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck do a good job as the wayward angels, with Jay and Silent Bob providing most (but not all) of the comedic elements. And on a fanboy level, one of Azrael's "henchmen" is seen wearing a Hellboy t-shirt, once again showing Smith's dedication to his comic book roots. While the movie takes some big jabs at certain aspects of Catholicism, it is by no means an anti-religion kind of movie. It just looks at the subject matter in a different light...

Great Scene: The Python-esque disclaimer at the beginning of the film sets it up right, cuz George Carlin as the cardinal of a cathedral just reeks of the hypocrisy of the "dark side" of the church. I must say, though, that I seem to remember a bit more to one of his scenes in the theatrical release than was included in the copy I saw. It may be included on the DVD, but I wonder why the fuck they would cut it out of the VHS version...

DVD Notes: None, saw it on a horribly out-of-ratio widescreen VHS copy.