Nicolò Grasso’s review published on Letterboxd:
Original Title: Dogville
Year of Release: 2003
Genres: Historical Drama; Crime; Thriller
Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Main Cast: Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown, James Caan, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgård, Chloë Sevigny, John Hurt
Bless Lars von Trier and his insanity! Dogville is a really bleak critique of American society, told in a minimalist, highly theatrical way that is as bold as it is rewarding. The entire set is just a sound-stage with barely any props and no walls or plants, giving the film a unique look and pushing the performances of the actors to their limit. The cast is wonderful and chock-full of famous faces, and the repetitive use of classical music and title cards for each chapter is immensely amusing to me.
There is a clear sense that von Trier evolved and changed with Dogville. While so many of his characters tended to be more passive and subject to horrible things happening to them, here Grace seemingly starts off that way, but by the end of the film she has endured so many terrible things that she has been changed at her core, kindness being replaced with vengeance. This anger will be found in later films of the director, and it is fascinating to see the place where it originated. The film is a tad too long for its own good, keeping me from giving it a perfect score, but other than that it is absolutely brilliant stuff!
Visual Effects: 8.5
Violence & Gore: 4
Sex & Nudity: 5
Drugs & Profanity: 2
Intensity & Horror: 4