Dogtooth (2009) Poster


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Normality is out of the question.
allstar_beyond24 July 2009
I give up. After sitting in front of the computer for almost half an hour, tossing and turning thoughts in my head as I try to write something about my latest adventure at the Auckland International Film Festival – "Dogtooth", I've decided that it is not possible to do so.

What I will say is this: watching "Dogtooth" was one of the strangest experiences I've ever had. I have honestly never seen any other film like it. Sometimes hysterical, sometimes shockingly intense. It is a hypnotic trip that displays brilliant originality and borderlines pure insanity. In my humble opinion, it is a film that should be watched by every single person, for the experience alone. Sadly, like so many other gems, I'm almost certain that this film will never find a wide release, so, please do seek it out, I beg you all.

I am so glad that I watched the movie cold, as the only things I knew about the movie was a promotional photo and the fact that it's Greek, a decision that I believe made the experience even more powerful for me, and a decision that I advise you all to take.
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Not that strange or removed from anyones reality
riffraffrichard13 May 2010
A whole language of deceit is created by a father to make sure that his family don't venture into the unknown which he fears will corrupt them. This film talks about the myths and lies we are told to maintain status quo and the appearance of stability and normality. It explores the abuse of protecting a child from outside influences to the extreme of denying human instincts and inquisitiveness about their world. Its shows how telling children lies for their own safety makes them fearful of the world and patronises there innate understanding about life. Its amazing because it creates a world with an absurd, fully realised, vocabulary that is completely understood by the members of this family ; its surreal nature forces you to question the oddness and the parameters of your own existence. A life unquestioned and unexplored leads to a stagnant swamp of confusion.
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love or hate
xfreakart10 June 2010
I was expecting some kind of "The Village" film... Just to avoid spoiling.. The lights turned on, the credits were running and everyone was quiet and searching for answers in others looks. Its best surprise that I've got in years. You don't have to be special to watch it, just sit and you'll end it living it, even that it isn't your life. I appreciate latter how good the movie was when I realized that all the scenes didn't need background violins to drive your emotions to a certain field. Everything goes by itself naturally. I just registered to post this, as I couldn't believe those bad reviews. I'm a normal guy that doesn't read reviews, but this movie is different and I was curious about how would other people feel about it. Maybe its one of those that you just love or hate, but at the end you'll feel something that isn't indifference.
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The human condition reduced to an absurdity
timmy_50111 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Dogtooth is not a comedy. The absurd situations in this film became humorous several times but I always choked on my laughter as the subject matter was too serious to be funny. The film is about three young adults who live with their parents in a large but isolated walled compound; the two young women and the young man have no knowledge of the world outside of this place and not much of the world inside of it. In fact the parents deliberately mislead them with nonsense on nearly every topic, for instance they claim that men are commonly killed by cats. Additionally, the siblings are taught the wrong words for certain objects and concepts, thus a "salt shaker" becomes a "telephone." These young people have been given a mostly carefree extended childhood at the cost of ever having any autonomy or knowledge. The parents' theory seems to be that the world is a terrible place and contact with it is more damaging than an isolated life. This Eden-like setting is a blessing and a curse: the characters are free of most problems that face normal people; they have no real responsibility and thus no worry. Still, like any human they yearn for answers and they have a certain half formed desire to be the masters of their own destinies. Further, in what seems to be a recent development the children are seeking an outlet for their sexual needs; while the parents can prevent them from being exposed to any stimulus they cannot stop biological urges from surfacing. Any solution to this problem is bound to upset the already fragile artificial world in which they live.

The implications of this film can be applied to any number of societal relationships. The connection these siblings have with their parents is quite similar to the affiliation between a citizen and his government or a believer and his religious institution. The film implies that for any of these relationships to work the individual must forego intelligence and blindly follow the institution although this sort of obedience is contrary to human nature. At the same time, the few people in charge must play their part perfectly in order to keep the trust they've been given; this proves just as difficult for the leaders as the followers, here for example when the parents allow themselves things forbidden to the children and inevitably draw unwanted attention.

Dogtooth is a film that raises all sorts of questions about the individual and the society he is forced to play a part in and it encapsulates these questions into a deceptively simple plot. Wisely, rather than answer these questions the film leaves these questions to be pondered by the viewer even as it neatly reduces the entire question to the absurd.
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Brave original and very dark satire
Hifen89 January 2010
If you are easily offended by bold unusual film-making especially in the areas of sex and violence do not see this film. That said I just saw this at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and thought it was a very interesting and very brave film. Well worth seeing if you can like strong, unusual films. Probably close to 30% of the audience walked out, but I was encouraged by the 70+% that remained, especially since most of the audience were 60+ Americans. The 20-somethings I talked to on the way out were very enthusiastic. The woman sitting next to me said "What did it mean? I don't understand" but to me there were enough deep meanings and points to ponder on a 30-minute drive home and I can't wait to tell friends about it. Everything from the dangers of creating a "perfect family" to "the mechanization of capitalism and upper middle class life" to metaphors for the dangers of repressive families and governments. At it's simplest, it proves that people, especially young ones, are in so many ways what their parents make them. This is not a film you will forget!
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Very odd
paul2001sw-112 October 2011
I must confess that I didn't understand 'Dogtooth', a film that has been billed in some quarters as a "satire"; but I fail to see what it is supposed to be satirising. A couple raise their children in isolation from society, and feed them a diet of false facts about the world; in apparent accordance with their parents' desires, the children grow up with a highly unusual set of behaviours, morals and perceptions. The false picture painted by the parents is frankly bizarre, but their offspring have no external knowledge by which to judge it. But I never got any sense of what motivates the parents to behave themselves in such a strange manner, and they seem to live a similar, fairly joyless existence to their kids. Presumably this film is meant to be about something; but to me, it just felt like a pointless oddity.
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Strange, disturbing, brilliant
aierobamwn15 January 2011
In Greece, when talking about Greek movies we like, one of the expressions we mostly use is "it was good, for a Greek movie". I am glad to say that this one was good, period. It is definitely not an easy movie to watch, as it can be really intense and deals with one or two traditionally taboo issues, but it is definitely worth giving it a chance. For me it has been a completely surreal experience, best described as stepping into a world as peaceful as heaven and as confining as hell, where things seem to work in their own whimsical way, leaving me with a constant bafflement as to what is to come next. I honestly did not realize how time went by and, when it all came to an end, I found myself asking for more. This is a movie that disturbed, moved and fascinated me while I was watching it and made me think after having watched it. It is surreal, it is symbolic (it could definitely be seen from a political point of view), it is ironic and at times it can be unexpectedly funny in a dark, twisted way. Directing it in a "dry", "strict" manner, as if just trying to capture the events that take place, was definitely a perfect choice, as was the complete absence of music. The actors did a great job at acting in the emotionally detached manner that was required plus, I have to say, it probably took lots of guts for them to do some of their most "awkward" scenes. All in all, I would say I admired the artistic integrity of the director and actors and their dedication to getting across the main idea and the atmosphere of this movie.

I don't really know how I could classify "Dogtooth". Is it a drama? (Well for a drama it is kind of under-plotted.) Is it a comedy? (It is definitely not a comedy, even when you laugh you are still disturbed by the absurdity of it all.) Is it horror? (It is not horror, it's just a horrific situation but everything, the horror, the violence etc is mostly implied.) Is it fantasy? (Well it is an alternate reality, but mind you this is a family that kind of looks "normal" on the outside!) So really, I give up. It's just a really strange, really intriguing movie, one that in my opinion is definitely worth your time.

Oh and one more thing: it is also one of these movies that it is best to know the least things possible before you see them. Quite a few things (particularly the funny ones) are based on shock value - not that the whole movie is based on shock value, of course. If you ask me, even the theatrical trailers show too much.
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portisheades11 October 2009
Boy,am I upset with the Sitges Film festival Jurors this year!!! So this film is not for everyone, but if you like realistic and paced films, are not bothered by highly explicit scenes, don't mind taboo subjects, like independent film and are into original stories.... this is the movie for you. I've read negative comments about this movie. I get it. It's not the most easy movie to watch, but I haven't been this pleasantly surprised in a long time. Saw this in Sitges with a packed audience, and I believe most of the people there were glued to the screen and didn't want to see the film end. Surreal, emotional, cruel, realistic and beautiful would be the words I would use to describe this picture. At first you don't really understand what's going on or where you're at, but soon find yourself submerged in the sad and pathetic life of a disturbed family. This is definitely one of the most important indie films of the year; aside from the original and highly meaningful story, the film if impeccably made with astounding performances. Shame on the Sitges film festival! This movie deserved the best actress and the special critics award. And I say that on behalf of most of the other people who were at the festival.
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Brilliant! An allegoric approach...So true...
Katia_H2 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is about our society and our behavioral patterns as a species.

It's about what IS happening. Think about it. Τhat is why we don't know where or when everything is happening. This film demonstrates a universal problem. People might think that it is a mockery of western society or capitalism. I don't believe that to be true. It's the same weather you live in the middle east or in Europe. Whether you have cappitalism or communism. It's not specified politically. Because in the end it doesn't matter. It is about our lives and how we choose to lead them. We ARE trapped. We are being told LIES every day from our parents, who want the best for us, but they don't know any better. But they were raised the same way they are raising us. It's a circle. And from our governments as well. But we can't break free, because that's all we know. We still choose to participate in such a society. That is the absurd. And that is why this movie is surreal or supposedly weird and raw.

But what about reality shows? Or splatters? Or Rambo? Or Die Hard? Aren't they absurd? Yes. Do we watch them? Yes. Because they're not about us. That's why so many people hated this movie, or didn't want to understand it.

We are trained to watch absurd things and yet, when it comes to mirror our society or our lives, we turn away from it.

Please watch it. It's brilliant!
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stunning allegory about totalitarianism and propaganda
Buddy-5117 March 2011
What if you could be the master of your own universe, able to make everything to your own specifications and liking? And what if, in that universe, you could have absolute control over your subjects, so that, not only would they have to do what you told them to, but you could even go so far as to shape the very way they look at the world?

The unnamed middle-aged protagonist (Christos Stergioglou) of "Dogtooth" has created just such a kingdom for himself and his wife (Michelle Valley), tucked away in a rural area of Greece, where the two of them have raised their children - a boy (Christos Passalis) and two girls (Aggelika Papoulia, Mary Tsoni) who are all now in their late teens - in such complete isolation that the kids have virtually no knowledge of the world that lies beyond the fenced-in little compound in which they live. They know only that it is a dangerous and scary place and that none of them will be able to venture out into it until their dogtooth falls out - which is to say never. They are so misinformed as to how the real world actually works that they think planes are just tiny objects moving through the air, and that if one of those tiny objects were to fall out of the sky and into their yard, the children would be able to pick it up and play with it like a toy. They've also been taught by their colluding parents to believe that prowling cats are a mortal menace to be destroyed on sight. The kids spend much of the day doing repetitive chores, playing meaningless games and being taught an incorrect vocabulary (they use the word "phone" when they really mean "salt," for example). The father regularly pays a young woman (Anna Kalaitzidu) he works with – the only person from the outside world the children are allowed to meet - to come and have sex with his post-pubescent son, and severely beats the kids every time they step out of line.

A stunning allegory about the evils of totalitarianism, "Dogtooth" is somewhat reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" in its basic premise and setup, only here the guiding principle seems to be less about protecting the young ones from the harsh realities of a modern world and more about this one man's finding a way to achieve a kind of apotheosis for himself - making himself a god in the eyes of his children. For not only does he make them reliant on him for all the basic necessities of life, but he's made it so that they accept without question the "truths" of the physical and moral order he's established for them to live by.

The man and his wife have together inverted and perverted the very definition of parenthood. Rather than grooming their children for an adult life in the real world, these parents deliberately infantilize their offspring, making it virtually impossible for them to leave the home and start a life of their own. This ensures that the kids will be there to take care of them for the rest of their lives.

On a broader scale, the movie is a searing indictment of the power of propaganda, showing how easy it is to mislead people and to compel them to do what one wants simply by feeding them false information and, thus, skewing their view of realty and the truth. And isn't this how totalitarian dictatorships are born and sustained? But there's also an innate desire for liberty and independence lurking in the recesses of every human soul that must finally assert itself in a desperate run for freedom, and the movie addresses that reality as well.

The movie is both raw and provocative as it takes on some rather touchy sexual themes – mainly involving incest - that some in the audience may find disturbing and discomfiting to put it mildly. There's also a fair amount of full-frontal nudity, brutal violence and more-than-simulated sex scenes in the movie.

Yorgos Lanthimos' direction is spare and stripped-down, as befits a parable, with off-kilter visual framing that heightens the bizarre nature of the piece.

"Dogtooth" is unnerving, thought-provoking and provocative – and a must-see for the unconventional, adventurous movie-watcher.
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Dogtooth - close to a masterpiece
pratyush19 December 2010
Not a lot of movies shock me. So I was quite surprised the unsettling impact Dogtooth had on me. A father locks up his 3 children who are in their late teens - early twenties in a large house and they have stayed there all their lives.

The three children are told lies of various degrees. Living totally isolated from the world and in a manufactured universe, they do not react like normal people would. The lack of awareness and exposure makes for very interesting scenarios and reactions.

The film can be pondered upon on several levels. For instance, governments never really tell their people any thing close to the whole truth. Thoughts on these lines - the harms caused by leaving people in the dark are the obvious things one can take back from the movie.

I am very interested in the alternate viewpoint of the parents though. They genuinely thought exposing the children to the world would be harmful for them. While that is not some thing one can possibly agree with, there are some positives which do come out of it in my opinion. For instance, when one of the girls who has never having been exposed to popular culture, dances, she creates some thing unique. As she has not seen any thing before, she is not influences by any thing and creates her own style. That is a positive in my mind.

This is film which is close to a masterpiece. When the film had released, it was panned in The New York Times and received an average review from Roger Ebert. I am quite pleased then, that it is slowly getting appreciation and is ending up in a few best of the year lists as well. This is a must watch according to me. 8.5/10.
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There's a difference between funny and stupid ...
SteveJ_88826 October 2011
If I learned anything from reading viewer reviews on IMDb it is that no matter how good I think a film is someone is going to hate it, and vice versa. I've also learned that when a film has won an award at Cannes there's a good chance it's going to be awful. I've concluded that some people like certain films solely because they are "different." Even when there is no story, no humor, or no action a film can still have some value if it has one essential element - truth. This film has absolutely nothing. The "characters" portrayed are no-shows. There are no reasons for their actions - they have no "reality." That's okay for a comedy, but this film isn't the least bit funny.

The film is sometimes visually appealing – but so what? Some images are nicely composed, but even completely random use of a camera will eventually yield something. As an alternative to watching this I'd recommend simply walking around or sitting on a park bench for 90 minutes. That would be just as visually appealing and more interesting than watching this dog of a film.
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I did not particularly like this movie.
cliffbressette10 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I hated this movie, probably the worst I've ever seen. Dogtooth should never have been written or directed or produced or funded. This should never have been allowed to waste my time. Who is rating this with 8-10 stars? Are you guys blind, deaf or stupid? There was no redeeming value in this movie besides the premise.

I was lured in by promises of an awesomely dysfunctional family, insanity and depth. The premise held true but where was the plot? Where was the story? Where was the character development? This could have been a great 20 minute short, but for some reason they decided to stretch it into an hour and a half of torture (and not the good kind).

By the end I was also ready to knock out my own teeth in order to escape. That part probably wasn't even written into the movie. I could totally see the actress permanently disfiguring herself to get out of her contract, and the director keeping the footage because it was the only optimistic scene in the entire movie. Think about it, you never saw Bruce after that scene. Did you? No because she took her new-found freedom and split! I actually envy her because she got out of the movie early. I was stuck there for like an hour after that...oh wait it just felt like an hour more like three minutes.

I want the ten hours that I felt like I spent watching this movie back.
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An opportunistic rip off of Castle of Purity, a Mexican film. Shame on you Mr Lanthimos
byrondesade19806 February 2012
Bad direction meets an interesting script which by the way is an opportunistic rip off of Castle of Purity (1974), a Mexican film which i love (see As the IMDb description states, the Mexican movie is ''The story of a disciplined and sexually driven man who keeps his family isolated in his home for years to protect them from the "evil nature" of human beings while inventing (with his wife) rat poison''.

The director just changed the scenery, added some minor details and served it to the audience. I feel pity for the poor Mexican fellow who saw both viewers and the academy rewarding this rip off.
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Major waste of time
Rectangular_businessman22 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
There is nothing interesting to see here, folks. This is just another one of those pretentious movies that try too hard to be "edgy" and "shocking", but that only ends being incredibly boring and irritating. Honestly, I don't see why some people say that this movie is "deep" or "complex". For me it was just an idiotic, tedious mess; filled with many, many stupid scenes and even worse dialogs.

Like many other movies that try too hard to shock the audience, it includes many gratuitous nudity, gratuitous sex scenes, animal cruelty, and a shallow treatment of themes such as incest…Anyway, even with all those things, "Dogtooth" is still a incredibly boring and stupid film, that made me waste 94 minutes of my life, 94 precious minutes that I won't have back, and that could used doing something better instead.

"Dogtooth" is one of the worst movies that I've seen in my whole life.

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This is a bad film.
acatsambas-537-8921579 January 2011
I have written my review here:

My main point is this: There are various ways a movie can be great: - It can have great acting. Dogtooth does not. - It can have great direct. Dogtooth does not. - It can have an original message. Dogtooth does not (what's original about authority and propaganda?) - It can simply entertain. Dogtooth does not. - It can plant the seeds for interesting discussions with friends. Dogtooth does not (what will you discuss after the film? That over-protecting someone is wrong? Will anyone disagree?) - It can cause self-doubt and introspection. Dogtooth does not.

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Der_Schnibbler4 December 2012
Two weirdo parents keep their three children locked in the house by brainwashing them from birth that the outside world is dangerous. The kids never leave the house for fear of death. In a further effort to confuse, the parents intentionally teach the kids erroneous definitions for words. "Telephone" means salt, and "sea" means sofa.

This would've been an interesting idea, except that the film is as interesting as watching a blade of grass grow. The dialog is slow, agonized, and stilted. At one point the dad plays a Frank Sinatra song, which he has told the kids is their grandfather singing, and "translates" it for them in real time. His translation is simply propaganda, wholly unrelated to the lyrics. Problem is, it's RETARDED. There is NO SUSPENSE IN THIS FILM WHATSOEVER. At no point do you even REMOTELY care what will happen to any of these idiots. All you want is for this thing to finish so you can get on with your life.

Someone mentioned that thirty per cent of people walked out of this screening, because the film could "offend." What in the hell is offensive about this piece of tripe? It's artsy-fartsy garbage for pretentious weirdos who will bleat about how "brilliant" it is. Yes, there's incest involved, but who cares when it's as interesting as licking paint?

If you want to see a real film that will entertain you instead of rob you of your precious god-given time on earth, skip this snoozefest.
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Amazing Film
damien_kelly2113 April 2010
I saw this movie at the Dublin International Film Festival this year and I was totally blown away. The critics award went to Samson & Delilah; I saw both and i'm amazed that it went to the the movie it did. The film is gory in parts, but it is in no way just for the sake of it: it's all relevant. It reminded me of Lars Von Triers "The Idiots". This movie has been firmly planted onto my psyche and I await its general release so I can go see it again. Of course there will be people who won't like the movie due to its sometimes extreme scenes: if this is the case and you're a little bit squeamish, then stay away. The urge for me to keep associating this film with those of Lars Von Trier's is hard for me to abate, and another connection could be made with Antichrist: if you liked Antichrist, I think you will immensely love this; if you found Antichrist hard to stomach then it's probably best not to view this: I doubt you'll appreciate its beauty through its intense harshness.
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At the beginning excited now disappointed
ivy-meza10 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
When i watched this movie i was so excited about it. It was a very original movie with a shocking story that reflected the extreme degree of fear of a man in respect with the modern world. The story was centered by the day with day life of one brother and two sisters, dad and mom. After a couple of years i found that it is an "updated" copy of a Mexican movie named "Castle of purity" 1973 directed by Arturo Ripstein. The story was also based in a real event that happened in Mexico during 1950's. For my surprise the original story of Ripstein has also one brother and two sisters, the two older ones were going through adolescence... i am not against remades but in certain way i feel me bad because i am a writer, and i think it is important look about the violation of author rights and the effort of having a work done and somebody stealing and having credits for it. Also the reviews of the movie i had read express the way the director "thought about the story". The movie Kyonodontas won a Cannes award, the movie of Ripstein didn't.
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Love at first sight
sfjelkegard19 April 2010
I'll start by saying: This is the best film I've ever seen! I think if you summon up Seidl, Haneke, Korine and Trier the result is Lanthimos. I'm speechless. Suddenly I remember why films like this has to be made. I love what there's no rules. When there's not necessary a need for understanding and no fixed answers given. It's a film you shouldn't even write an review about. It peels of every false layer of the human being and at deepest question the modern humanity. What have we become. It says to us: think outside the box. Live, without limitations. Embrace, even the madness. Life is a play. Now when this is said I must also compliment how beautifully it's filmed and edited. The scene with the barking dogs, which abruptly breaks into silence and into the tragic family constellation. It's finest art. And I laughed loudly, and my heart beating so fast. I was falling in love. I love this film, just as much as I love for example Elfrede Jelinek's texts. I love this film so much it hurts. I have no more words.
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Prison of the soul
chaos-rampant31 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Cinema works two ways in Greece. Theo Angelopoulos is the prestige cinema we export to Cannes or Venice every couple of years, but it's not what we watch as a peoples. The multiplex is crowded with the Hollywood milieu, and the national product we consume either strains for respectability and po-faced seriousness (El Greco, Psihi Vathia) or is plumb stupid in the face of it (Soula Ela Ksana). The irony of Dogtooth then is that it will become the toast of the town for a few months not because we recognize something of importance in it but because the Oscars did. In a strange coup, tinsel town glitz and glamour seems to validate radical art.

Already TV talk shows that wouldn't have anything to do with cinema outside the latest Brangelina gossip are playing the trailer as panelists exchange in a serious manner banalities about this fierce new voice of Greek cinema. The welcome aspect of this is that Dogtooth will be exposed and confront an audience which otherwise would shy away from that confrontation. The moral guardians of society, here and abroad, will once again no doubt grasp the opportunity to condemn or be selfrighteous or pass judgement, the film gives them the podium. Dogtooth addresses them, preemptively addresses their reaction, and it addresses us.

Greece was lucky (or unlucky for some) to barely escape the iron grip of communism, not without a price paid fully in blood, but we didn't escape the grip of a totalitarian state. It's a bit of a stretch to attempt the claim that, in the wake of the military junta of '68, Greek society is divided between those who can afford to drive Mercedez Benz and those who can't, but the exaggeration is rooted in the reality of a class divided society. Nikos Nikolaidis, cult legend of Greek cinema, gave us sorrowful portraits of the down and out, the outcasts and the misfits, Dogtooth invites us behind the mansion walls of the rich.

In Singapore Sling, Nikos Nikolaidis created in microcosm a world where, having satisfied their apparent problems, decadent individuals turned to satisfy their basest instincts, violence and perverse eroticism. Dogtooth takes the comment further, where no more concessions need to be made, is violence all that bubbles at the core of our being or is violence only the symptom of a corrupt being? Is violence our human nature, or is it our inhuman nature, unnatural to us.

I like how the film posits that argument. What is an utopia to the characters, is a dystopia ot the viewer. The first instance of that dystopia is the violence of language, equally emblematic of Maoist propaganda and Orwellian narrative. Not by objects external to us, but how we relate to them. If we begin to replace the ugly for the beautiful, "zombie" for "flower", then a point down the line comes where what stands for an open world must be replaced by the mundane or the casual, "sea" for "armchair". "Zombie" and "sea" pose equal threat to the authority of the parents. In this sense, to speak clearly is to know the true nature of things, and the opposite.

Where the film stands on its own for me is the unpleasantness, do I recognize in it an important metaphor worth enduring it or am I titilated to sit the duration. I do, not only because I can recognize the tragedy of a human being who doesn't know any better than to perform cunnilingus in exchange for a trivial object, but also because I am moved by the genuine horror of the son who disembowels the harmless cat he considers a grave threat to the peace of his dystopia. The violence of the parents begets more violence, and more, without the moral compass of being able to think for oneself, right and wrong disappear.

Dogtooth tells us that oppression that happens with the best intentions is still oppression, that to seek to protect from outside corruptive influence is in itself an outside corruptive influence. The soul needs to be formed from within at some point. Who makes laws for the lawmakers, who polices the police, it's the same argument for me.

The end is poignant in that sense.

The daughter makes her first steps out on the world but she's dead, literally inside the trunk, or figuratively dead to the world. What's there to be reborn to? Can a future be surmised for her outside of that trunk when she doesn't know any better than to be sexually intimate with someone for a trivial object? Her values, outlook, perspective, have been shaped for her, the movie shows us the cost extracted. Dogtooth's power then is not only the sketch of social allegory but also the means to it. The surreal makes sense to us.

It's also one of the darkest comedies I've seen in a long while. The usual wooden delivery of the actors in a Greek movie, is turned to an asset here. And I like how the daughter's liberation, or the onset of it, from her parents, happens in the form of a manic dance, in a final performance that celebrates the breaking loose from the confines of a prison of the soul.
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Disturbing....yes but not in a good way
alex-fajardo11 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Where do I begin...I will not trash this movie for any other reason other than that it was ridiculously boring, there was no legitimate plot to this film and it was nothing more than a strange experience to say the least.

Going into this film, I had an open mind and was looking forward to seeing a "Masterpiece" due to the reviews and ratings. Maybe ten minutes into the film BAM! a sex scene and pretty damn often (way more than necessary) their were numerous sex scenes, and if that wasn't unpleasant enough why not throw in some brother and sister sexual acts.

I can admit that the only "shocking" scene was near the end when one of the daughters smashes a hand weight into her teeth, but a "beautiful masterpiece"...I don't think so.

So the rating 7.2 really? It doesn't deserve a genre nor a rating...avoid this one by all means.
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And the Emperor was wearing no clothes
golden_dove8829 August 2010
I first saw this at the SXSW film festival. I had high hopes because this film had won several awards and seemed to have gotten high reviews. Not to mention it seemed to be a very interesting movie. However I was greatly disappointed. Within the first few minutes of the film a woman turned to me, utterly confused, and said 'Is this Dogtooth? Am I in the wrong theater?'. Unfortunately, yes, we were in the right theater.

The flaw with the film isn't necessarily style, though it is one that is very strange, it's more of a huge flaw in directing and story telling. Often moments would drag on for five minutes more then it should and the events lacked the flow it needed to keep anyone interested. Five minutes felt like ten, ten felt like twenty, and, well, you get the picture.

The story was there but very thinly present. Not to mention the director or writer, who ever is to blame for this, seemed to resort to cheap gimmicks (the long awkward sex scenes, unnecessary gore, etc) just to try to keep it interesting and edgy. But this isn't what makes a good movie, that has never been the case. If it still had these things in it, but it still had a strong story then I wouldn't care. However it seems to me that the director was too caught up in doing something scandalous that he forgot what this film was supposed to be about. It was obvious from the start what was going on and it didn't let us think about any other possibilities. Yes, I get it, it's a metaphor but that doesn't mean it's a very good one.

It's boring, and I suppose you can point the finger at me and say something along the lines of 'you're not cultured enough' or 'it's art!' but the fact of the matter is just because a pile of dog dirt might look like the Virgin Mary, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily a holy relic.

If you're really REALLY interested in watching this. Then try to find some clips on you tube before dedicating your time and money to it.
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cix_one27 February 2011
I see how this can be a movie that Hollywood-hating crowd can be fooled into liking. The folks who marketed this movie pulled it off masterfully. As I said, impressive...

Let me explain. I *do* like good European movies. Yes, even the ones with long pauses (think Tarkowski's original Solaris). I *do* think Hollywood puts out a lot of violence-drenched crap (oh, but Got forbid, can't show any sex!). So I *am* as thirsty for European cinema and for indies as the next guy. But this doesn't mean I'm going to swallow anything you pour in my cup...

The story of movie, simply put, has nothing. Nothing. OK, so sick people do exist. No breaking news there. The story *could* be interesting if the movie meant to be a dystopia, but it's completely unbelievable as portraying the "real" world (because the character's actions are unbelievable). So it's not dystopia and doesn't feel real. Then what is it? Most likely, just a bad movie...

I can definitely believe that people either go gaga about this movie or they see it for what it is. As an intellectual American aspiring to rise to the refined taste of the Europeans, you're naturally compelled to see something in this movie. But as an European transplant in the States, I can only tell you not to fall for it; sometimes a bad movie is just that and nothing more. Oh, and when I tally my festival-going experience in the past 10 years: US & Canadian indies win over European movies, hands down.
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Dogtooth : A family as nutty as North Korea
forlornnesssickness14 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Living in the big house with a swimming pool in some unknown remote place, this family is shut off from the world outside. They are not only surrounded by the big plants in the garden but also the big, tall fence blocking their view. The family is affluent, and the house is mostly clean, and they do not see any problem with being stuck in this isolated place. They do not watch TV or read newspaper(but they have some books), and only signs of the civilization outside are the planes which fly across the sky above from time to time.

How do they come to have such a bizarre lifestyle? The movie never explains the motive, but it seems that the father initiated this lifestyle probably a long time ago. He is the only one who can go outside with his car(he seems to be the manager of a big plant), so it is his job to supply anything his family needs in their life. He seldom talks about his family in front of other people(he just says that his wife is too ill to meet people), and he blocks anything that may interfere the family life. When he buys foods and water, he painstakingly removes the labels for not giving any outside information. How thoughtful he is.

His wife obeys to him as a good wife(she is physically not ill at all, by the way), and so do their children. They have two daughters and one son. Though they are in late adolescent years, they behave as if they were still little children under the protection of mommy and daddy. They have several strange games to spend their daytime, like "a game of endurance": they test themselves who can stand longer when they dip their fingers in hot water. In case of their other private game, they anesthetize themselves with chloroform to find out who will wake up first.

They have been leading a good life at least in their view, but it is gradually revealed that something unstoppable is being emerged while their abnormal behaviors, including barking like a dog on their knees when they believe they are threatened by a cat, continue. Though he cannot block everything, the father is determined to stop that by any means necessary, and there are several bursts of violence to shock you mainly due to the clinical, objective attitude of the film.

The film, which won Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 and was nominated for Foreign Language Film Oscar early in this year, has a lot of cold, distant feelings, but it is also interesting and, sometimes, amusing to watch. The director Giorgos Lanthimos, who wrote the screenplay with Efthymis Filippou, keeps everything straight throughout his film with the wry, subtle sense of black humor. The aforementioned twisted vocabulary is used several times in a funny way, and there is also an outrageous scene depicting the way the children celebrate the anniversary of their parent's wedding. The actors in the film play as seriously as possible to make the twisted reality of their characters mundane – even when they cross the boundary of our ethics out of necessity, they never look self-conscious while supporting the detached tone of the film.

Maybe because of the death of Kim Jong-il two weeks ago and the following response of North Korean people shown on the media, these bizarre human behaviors in the film are not that weird to me as I remembered. I and other South Koreans know too well about how twisted North Korean society have been while shutting up itself from the world and brainwashing its people with the crooked ideas just like the family in the film. One savage scene in the movie reminds me of how severely North Korean people are punished if they are found watching South Korean TV shows.

I remember well when Kim Il-Sung, the former dictator and the father of Kim Jong-il, was dead in 1994. Even we South Koreans were flabbergasted to some degree to see the hysterical mass mourning even though we had been well aware of that he had been literally worshipped as the big daddy of North Korea. Now his son is dead, and his grandson becomes a new leader to be worshipped without much trouble, and we do not find the recent behaviors of North Koreans under this wacky dictatorship particularly weird, mainly because we have seen this before. Compared to this insanity, "Dogtooth" is like a mild fairy tale.

By the way, what is the point of the movie? It does not express its opinion while firmly holding its austere attitude, but I think the lesson from the film is that the kids are bound to grow up no matter how much the parents try to restrict them with their stringent home schooling. Maybe it works for a while, but it cannot last forever. No wonder some North Korean people escape from their country in spite of the constant brainwashing and the possibility of severe punishment.
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