Worth A Look: 26.88%
Pretty Bad: 10.48%
Total Crap: 8.66%
21 reviews, 313 user ratings
by Dust For Eyes
Dogma director, Kevin Smith, a catholic, makes a bitter attack of a film on his own religion. Smith is at pains to tell us that it's a lighthearted bitter attack - that it is satire - but Dogma is nevertheless a piercing aspersion on his own religion.There are few more passionate beliefs for people than religion. No, I am not going to go on a vitriol attack of religion. I'm OK with it. Some may see it as responsible for just as much bad as good, but I think you will find that with
"More fun than the crucifixion"
any passionate belief - religious or otherwise.
One of those religions is of course Catholicism. Is it just me or does it have a special place in the world of religions with its own members and ex-members being resentful and critical of their own religion? I can only guess at the true extent of it (if it really exists to any significant extent in the first place),
but someone who does seem rather resentful is Kevin Smith.
At the end of Clerks - Smith's first film - a line in the credits said that Jay and Silent Bob - two characters of the film - will return in Dogma. In Smith's next film Jay and Silent Bob did return but it was in Mallrats, not Dogma. At the end of Mallrats it says that Jay and Silent Bob will return in Chasing Amy. And so they did. At the end of Chasing Amy it says, "Jay and Silent Bob will return in Dogma (we promise)". This time they do.
Bartleby (Affleck) and Loki (Damon) are a couple of outcast angels. A combination of Wings Of Desire and Clerks,
they are keen in finding a way back into heaven. A discovered loophole - with a New Jersey Church dedication - in the infallibility of God doctrine means that might be able to get back into heaven. Thing is though that their entry might just trigger the end of existence as we know it.
With God (Morrisette - yes, Alanis Morrisette) being incapacitated, a messenger, Metatron (Rickman), calls upon Bethany (Fiorentino) as the last living descendent of Jesus's brother to stop them. With the help of a couple of
improbable prophets, the forgotten thirteenth apostle (Rock) and Serendipity (Hayek), a not entirely convinced Bethany
sets off to New Jersey to stop Loki and Bartleby. With existence in the balance, Hell takes an interest, and so the apocalyptic Azrael (Lee) joins in the fun trying to make sure that Loki and Bartleby succeed.
Smith makes his best film to date with the problem I had with him over pace and wordiness of his previous films pretty much
ironed out. His great dialogue and sense of comedy is as good as ever and with the added issue of religion and faith, his film has a substantial added texture.
With all the references to levels of angels and other religious catechism, the film can make you feel a bit lost in
following all the technicalities of religious beings.
Smith is certainly reaching much further than just talking about shopping clerks, malls, and Star Wars references.
Although the obligatory Star Wars reference is safely in place.
At the end of the film the credits say that Jay and Silent Bob will return in Clerks 2: Hardly Clerkin' - we shall see if that eventuates.Smith's film is a solid effort of satire and his most accessible film to date. It's droll while still achieving its
target. As theologian Elizabeth Castelli said, the film portrays a not-that-radical religious message. Smith's attack is aimed at the institution of the church rather than the belief in God. Smith didn't want to beat us over the head with a criticism of the church. He instead wanted us just to think about faith and what it means to ourselves.
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originally posted: 02/09/00 19:22:13
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