Dogtooth (18)

Film

Drama

DOGTOOTH01.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Apr 20 2010

‘I hope your kids have bad influences and develop bad personalities,’ says the well-to-do dad of three suburban young adults as a putdown in the mysterious, bold ‘Dogtooth’, hinting at a unique approach to parenting of which Josef Fritzl would be proud. Director Giorgos Lanthimos gives us a middle-class Greek family, lorded over by a businessman father who keeps his three children within the walls of their smart home and teaches them the incorrect definitions of several new words each day (‘A motorway is a very strong wind’). These kids’ world is without outside interference: when their mother talks on the phone, they think she’s speaking to herself; when planes fly over, they think they’re toys. Perhaps the dad’s biggest mistake is to allow a security guard from work to enter their home and sexually satisfy his son. He doesn’t bargain on her trading gifts and ideas with his daughter for sexual favours. Nor does he pre-empt the danger of her lending his daughter videos of ‘Rocky’ and ‘Flashdance’.

With hints of Haneke’s ‘The Seventh Continent’, Ian McEwan’s ‘The Cement Garden’ and even ‘Lord of the Flies’, Lanthimos has crafted a stunningly provocative and at times witty play on the inspirations that make us who we are. All families live by their own rules, and this drama takes that idea to its perverse and shocking conclusion. Lanthimos films these calamities in a quiet, observational style, with calm colours, subtle camera movements and gentle edits, lending an air of normality to a world that couldn’t be less so. Special and troubling.
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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Apr 23, 2010

Duration:

96 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|29
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Cougar

I really hate when people compare this garbage to Haneke... This movie is way overrated and undeservedly won a Cannes award and an Oscar nomination. It is a depressing, disturbing and boring movie that might entertain psychos dreaming of animal abuse as well as young people interested in soft porn. The director went out his way to shock the viewer, maybe because he was well aware that the retarded and pointless characters were irrelevant and boring. My bottom line after this movie and another Greek junk, Attenberg, that Greeks should start paying taxes and make better movies, or better yet, don't make any movies at all...

Garth

what kind of ending do you need - 'Eldest' makes it to a dentist, in an airport, where Christina's found a new security job and they hook up?! no, in my opinion, not knowing how it pans out provokes the viewer to ask themself some awkward questions! best bit - the rocky re-enactment of Rocky; worst bit - poor stray cat.

dorayakii

This film is like Marmite. You either love it or hate it, there's NO inbetween. I LOVED it. One of the best films I've seen this year... every last detail of the film was meticulously planned, and showed it ostentatiously, but usually that is the sign of a bad director, but in this case it just added to the feeling of claustrophobia and authoritarianism. If you watch this film hoping for fast pace action, forget it. The film's storyline may be slow, but leaves you no time to think about and analyse the deeper meaning of the film. If you hope for a justification or an underlying reason why the father keeps them under control you've missed the point completely. You should realise that the film is not ultimately about the family, the family members are merely symbols so they can be one-dimensional and there doesn't need to be a reason or a justification of the father's keeping them locked away. It is an allegory of pure control, pure mindless, reasonless control for its own sake. The ending is deliberately ambiguous again for that same reason. The different facets of control and emancipation from that control are so complex that a definitive ending would not only be superfluous but spoil the entire film. The film allegorised not just political totalitarianism of the 1984 type, like North Korea but it was also a parody of religious cults such as Hare Krishna, Philadelphia Church of God, Scientologists, Kabbalah, Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses who keep their members in the dark about the world, shun outside influences, have their own vocabulary where they change the definitions of words and even indoctrinate their members to police themselves and their own feelings. The acting was stiff, which again was totally appropriate and fitting for the film. I was able to connect every last detail of the film to a particular exprience in the cult that I was raised in and the main message I got from the film was the futility of totalitarian or cultic regimes and the fact that intelligent people's minds will always long to break free of control no matter how indoctrinated they are. If you've ever been a cult member, or a citizen of a totalitarian regime, this film will speak to you.

dorayakii

This film is like Marmite. You either love it or hate it, there's NO inbetween. I LOVED it. One of the best films I've seen this year... every last detail of the film was meticulously planned, and showed it ostentatiously, but usually that is the sign of a bad director, but in this case it just added to the feeling of claustrophobia and authoritarianism. If you watch this film hoping for fast pace action, forget it. The film's storyline may be slow, but leaves you no time to think about and analyse the deeper meaning of the film. If you hope for a justification or an underlying reason why the father keeps them under control you've missed the point completely. You should realise that the film is not ultimately about the family, the family members are merely symbols so they can be one-dimensional and there doesn't need to be a reason or a justification of the father's keeping them locked away. It is an allegory of pure control, pure mindless, reasonless control for its own sake. The ending is deliberately ambiguous again for that same reason. The different facets of control and emancipation from that control are so complex that a definitive ending would not only be superfluous but spoil the entire film. The film allegorised not just political totalitarianism of the 1984 type, like North Korea but it was also a parody of religious cults such as Hare Krishna, Philadelphia Church of God, Scientologists, Kabbalah, Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses who keep their members in the dark about the world, shun outside influences, have their own vocabulary where they change the definitions of words and even indoctrinate their members to police themselves and their own feelings. The acting was stiff, which again was totally appropriate and fitting for the film. I was able to connect every last detail of the film to a particular exprience in the cult that I was raised in and the main message I got from the film was the futility of totalitarian or cultic regimes and the fact that intelligent people's minds will always long to break free of control no matter how indoctrinated they are. If you've ever been a cult member, or a citizen of a totalitarian regime, this film will speak to you.

dorayakii

If you watch this film and say "what was that about?" or if you watch it hoping for an explanation of why the father goes to such lengths or a resolution of what happens to the older girl in the end, you've been spoon-fed by too many Hollywood movie and need to clear out your entire DVD collection, open a book and start re-training your indolent brain and sparking your lethargic imagination. An explanation or resolution would have spoilt the entire film and rendered the core message impotent.

dorayakii

If you watch this film and say "what was that about?" or if you watch it hoping for an explanation of why the father goes to such lengths or a resolution of what happens to the older girl in the end, you've been spoon-fed by too many Hollywood movie and need to clear out your entire DVD collection, open a book and start re-training your indolent brain and sparking your lethargic imagination. An explanation or resolution would have spoilt the entire film and rendered the core message impotent.

Steve

This movie is slow and boring. There are some scenes that might shock or invoke humour, but ultimatly the plot remains pointless, questionable and unbelivable. Many veiwers will not relate to the characters and will question their motives. Annoyingly, no answers are given away in this film, leaving the veiwer to self interpret the point of this film. It remains a bizzare story that leaves the veiwer confused. The story is supposed to be more humorous than it really is, the creators of this film may have missed the mark and ended up with a disturbing contraversial peice that disapoints.

Nicolas Protonotarios

A thoroughly disgusting film to watch -as entertainment goes- but also supremely effective as a psychological detonator. The oft-touted black humour is not really its forte -we have seen much better- but the acting and camera work by director Lanthimos are spot on. The father figure especially is scaringly plausible and his choice of tools for punishment -the same means that 'polluted' his family- as well as his abrupt and chillingly effective moves are, I believe, the best part of the movie. The main failing is I think the sudden and vague ending, which, although open to many interpretations, could have carried the scenario on for another few minutes with better results. The film it brought more to my mind, unlike other reviews I have come across, is One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, with its whitish, light colours and chillingly cold atmosphere. Definitely a must for anyone interested in quality movie-making.

S

I am confused whether or not I recommend this movie. It was perhaps the most unsettling movie I have ever seen. But what made it horrific, is why this gem is so original. My Greek partner says this movie is a parody of "over-protective" Greek parents. The ending does leave more questions than answers, but that further adds to the disturbed feeling I had throughout the entire film. After the movie, I felt like I lost my innocence. I felt unsettled, like I needed to take an anti-acid pill, and have a drink all at the same time. The day after, I had a better appreciation for the uniqueness of this movie, and especially admire the originality of the dance scene of the two sisters. Flashdance parody was brilliant. Love it.

S

I am confused whether or not I recommend this movie. It was perhaps the most unsettling movie I have ever seen. But what made it horrific, is why this gem is so original. My Greek partner says this movie is a parody of "over-protective" Greek parents. The ending does leave more questions than answers, but that further adds to the disturbed feeling I had throughout the entire film. After the movie, I felt like I lost my innocence. I felt unsettled, like I needed to take an anti-acid pill, and have a drink all at the same time. The day after, I had a better appreciation for the uniqueness of this movie, and especially admire the originality of the dance scene of the two sisters. Flashdance parody was brilliant. Love it.

Aaron

I don't see how anyone could possibly think this was a bad film.Either the dad or both parents are blatant, textbook psychopaths. The authoritarian and well meant behavior by the misbehaving father and complicit mother made that rather obvious. The children are in a perpetual state of arrested development until one child is corrupted by an outsider (christina). So in her hunger for knowledge the girl smashes out her dogtooth so she can find out what the real world is like. The ending seems abrupt but that doesnt make it bad. It lets the viewer ponder on the thought "what happens next". I was also reminded of the white ribbon. I thought this film was also an allegory on authoritarianism as was The White Ribbon. Fantastic film. You just have to think to get it.

Aaron

I don't see how anyone could possibly think this was a bad film.Either the dad or both parents are blatant, textbook psychopaths. The authoritarian and well meant behavior by the misbehaving father and complicit mother made that rather obvious. The children are in a perpetual state of arrested development until one child is corrupted by an outsider (christina). So in her hunger for knowledge the girl smashes out her dogtooth so she can find out what the real world is like. The ending seems abrupt but that doesnt make it bad. It lets the viewer ponder on the thought "what happens next". I was also reminded of the white ribbon. I thought this film was also an allegory on authoritarianism as was The White Ribbon. Fantastic film. You just have to think to get it.

bengubbins

Film of the year! Best trip at cinema for ages. Brilliantly paced narrative and hilariously disturbed reality. Ending left me wanting more as I could have happily watched the scenario unravel for ages. Not sure why it's being questioned, its ambiguity allows the viewer to interpret. This is a good thing! Likewise there were only hints at a backstory. Are answers needed for everything? Flashdance? Videos the eldest watched were Rocky and Jaws,no? Both reenactments had me cracking up. Whilst brutal, the father's choice of punishment for eldest and Christina was awesome. Great writing! Also, like how the family characters are only named as their roles (father etc...), similar device in Saramago's Blindness. And I love the minimal film poster: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/Dogtooth(2009)_poster.jpg Apt mention of Josef Fritzl in the review, I was wondering if those horrors had influenced the screenplay. Since Dogtooth had a May 2009 release, presumably it was already written/conceived before Fritzl case came to light. Finally, anyone seen Kinetta? As good? And thanks for Giorgos Lanthimos Q+A elsewhere on the site.

bengubbins

Film of the year! Best trip at cinema for ages. Brilliantly paced narrative and hilariously disturbed reality. Ending left me wanting more as I could have happily watched the scenario unravel for ages. Not sure why it's being questioned, its ambiguity allows the viewer to interpret. This is a good thing! Likewise there were only hints at a backstory. Are answers needed for everything? Flashdance? Videos the eldest watched were Rocky and Jaws,no? Both reenactments had me cracking up. Whilst brutal, the father's choice of punishment for eldest and Christina was awesome. Great writing! Also, like how the family characters are only named as their roles (father etc...), similar device in Saramago's Blindness. And I love the minimal film poster: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/Dogtooth(2009)_poster.jpg Apt mention of Josef Fritzl in the review, I was wondering if those horrors had influenced the screenplay. Since Dogtooth had a May 2009 release, presumably it was already written/conceived before Fritzl case came to light. Finally, anyone seen Kinetta? As good? And thanks for Giorgos Lanthimos Q+A elsewhere on the site.

Paris Tselios

Anyone who has seen Haneke's 'trilogy' The Seventh Continent, Benny's Video and 71 Fragments of A Chronology of Chance as well as anything by the master David Lynch and the laughably self-important Lars Von Trier will find this film utterly derivative, desperately self-conscious and quite frankly a huge bore. The script is risible and clumsy (paticularly for Greek speakers like myself ) the acting plain hysterical and the camera work desperately but unsuccessfully trying to emulate a sense of unease . The 'surreal' scene where the children perform for the parents is one of the worst set pieces I have ever encountered in a movie. I did not consider this film an homage to Haneke, Lynch, Trier or the long tradition of the theatre of the absurd, rather an insult to my intellect and a very, very poor imitation. 'Un Certain Regard'? Un certain retard more like...

RCO&#039;G

Mary Tsoni's ( Youngest ) day job is as lead singer of the Greek Punk Band Mary and the Boy and without even knowing that you watch her along with the rest of the cast keenly aware that this could erupt in an angry angry volatile outburst of violence swearing social commentary and general anarchy and yet it never does. And that's the fascination of the piece. It plays as "normal" so that by the end ( I wanted a bit more ) the audience is left ambigiously unsure whether to laugh cry be happy or go tell someone. It's Directed with spot on precision by Lanthimos who uses every trick in the Indie book and Importantly one's that aren't there, such as moving to the slow dolly track on the "Jaws" re-enactment to create obscurity, vagueness and downright weirdness which rather thanm alienating the audience keeps our attention. The cast is superb and David Lynch needs to see this movie.

Ian

Drole and disturbing in equal measure, this is probably the most strangest but also thought provoking film I have seen since last year's Antichrist. Certainly the combination of violence and absurdity seems common to both, and The While Ribbon as well, though what it says about the times we live in I don't know. A strange parallel world which has an eerie reflection of our own, cruelly funny and violently disturbing at the same time. For those who disliked the end - surely the clue is in the title and its significance? I feel haunted by this film, it gets under your skin.

Ian

Drole and disturbing in equal measure, this is probably the most strangest but also thought provoking film I have seen since last year's Antichrist. Certainly the combination of violence and absurdity seems common to both, and The While Ribbon as well, though what it says about the times we live in I don't know. A strange parallel world which has an eerie reflection of our own, cruelly funny and violently disturbing at the same time. For those who disliked the end - surely the clue is in the title and its significance? I feel haunted by this film, it gets under your skin.

Iain Stringer

Disturbing but thoroughly interesting how three offspring can "grow up" yet still appear child-like and innocent- arrested development (or development of a different kind). No awareness about covering up their bodies (often in swim wear/underwear), sexual experimentation (like doctors and nurses), obeying (and fearing) your parents discipline and word (such as not leaving the confines of their home- cos their father said so). I noticed their heads were often cut off- just like the ending of the movie. It felt like- again- this was showing their lack of development. The siblings were also quite numb too- such as not responding much to pain or ever getting upset- emotionally stunted. Again never appearing to become a full person- as we know it. It's interesting that the focus was on the siblings and not the deranged "parents". Well- I wonder if they even were their parents? Who knows. Although, he appeared to have his wife (?) under his spell too. Ultimately I felt it played around with what we are familiar with and take for granted- or second nature. When it-s questioned (or depicted another way) it rouses us to love or loathe this movie. Personally- I loved it. It's good to challenge your thinking and what constitutes a good movie. Not all movies need to be entertaining in an enjoyable way do they? I hope not. Art should challenge and disturb too, in order that we grow and we develop........ Iain

Iain Stringer

Disturbing but thoroughly interesting how three offspring can "grow up" yet still appear child-like and innocent- arrested development (or development of a different kind). No awareness about covering up their bodies (often in swim wear/underwear), sexual experimentation (like doctors and nurses), obeying (and fearing) your parents discipline and word (such as not leaving the confines of their home- cos their father said so). I noticed their heads were often cut off- just like the ending of the movie. It felt like- again- this was showing their lack of development. The siblings were also quite numb too- such as not responding much to pain or ever getting upset- emotionally stunted. Again never appearing to become a full person- as we know it. It's interesting that the focus was on the siblings and not the deranged "parents". Well- I wonder if they even were their parents? Who knows. Although, he appeared to have his wife (?) under his spell too. Ultimately I felt it played around with what we are familiar with and take for granted- or second nature. When it-s questioned (or depicted another way) it rouses us to love or loathe this movie. Personally- I loved it. It's good to challenge your thinking and what constitutes a good movie. Not all movies need to be entertaining in an enjoyable way do they? I hope not. Art should challenge and disturb too, in order that we grow and we develop........ Iain

Dez

I have just finished watching this film and moments after leaving the cinema I felt quite distressed and dissatisfied by the abrupt ending (already mentioned) and for me, I require reasons for why characters do such things. Unfortunately this film seemed unable or unwilling to answer those questions . So for the film to just end like it did, didn't make me feel good having sat through this film, which did have some laugh out loud moments and some gasp, shock moments. But after speaking with the people who I had seen the film with they were able to 'talk me down' because I was genuinely disturbed by all that I had seen but I finally decided I was glad I had seen this film. One thing this film does is make you think and question everything you had seen. I give this film 3.5 stars

Rachel

OK I am willing to agree this film is original and troubling, but I fail to see why any of you consider it a necessary or useful film. I did not enjoy watching it - only stayed in case there was any kind of explanation. I think the lack of interpretation by the director makes this film infinitely less debatable. But most of all, I feel strongly that it is not necessary to see this kind of psychopathic behaviour to make comments on the "real world". Watch the news. What goes on around us, especially abroad, is just as bad, and affects many millions more people than a few ill-advised Europeans who need psychological help, not a camera.

christina

I highly recommend this film. The thinking afterwards is the best part- Personally I loved the ending as well. Nice photography and calmness in camera of such a disturbing- provocative theme.

christina

I highly recommend this film. The thinking afterwards is the best part- Personally I loved the ending as well. Nice photography and calmness in camera of such a disturbing- provocative theme.

Jules

Dave I wrote that comment literally 5 minutes after watching the film so felt a little cheated and wanted more.It was so abrupt I wasn't ready for it, but the more I thought about it the more I appreciated the ending and so the film in retrospect has grown on me so I will ammend my rating to 4 stars.

tschill

I absolutely agree with Dave and think the ending is the best part of this hilarious film. If you are protected from the world, then you are not aware what can happen to you out there. You do need information to evaluate risks. This is really an essential film in times where politicians all over Europe try to protect society from a supposedly dangerous internet.

tschill

I absolutely agree with Dave and think the ending is the best part of this hilarious film. If you are protected from the world, then you are not aware what can happen to you out there. You do need information to evaluate risks. This is really an essential film in times where politicians all over Europe try to protect society from a supposedly dangerous internet.

jules

ok film quite original, absolutley ruined by the ending perhaps the director didn't actually know where the film wass going ?