Time Out says
Fri Oct 21 2005Von Trier is back to the vaguely anti-American concerns and stark sub-Brechtian style of ‘Dogville’, with considerably diminished returns. Grace and her gangster father (Howard and Dafoe, replacing – none too successfully – Kidman and Caan) arrive at an Alabama plantation which, they find, still practices slavery decades after its abolition; backed up by the guns of her dad’s henchmen, the headstrong young woman frees the slaves, makes the late owner’s family their equals, and sets about encouraging them all to build a new democratic society; needless to say, things don’t work out as planned… Be it a reflection on racial inequality, a philosophical treatise on the nature of freedom, or an allegory about the Bush administration’s ‘nation-building’ policies, the film fails, partly because what it has to say is so muddled and inadequate, partly because – as cinema and as drama – it is so dull. The dialogue is dreary, the acting listless, and the gimmicky mise-en-minimaliste-scène simply irrelevant. If Von Trier decides to complete his ‘American trilogy’, the final episode will have to be a big improvement on this fiasco if we’re to stick with it to the end.
Fri Mar 3, 2006