Dogtooth (2010)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Written by Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou

Dogtooth has gotten quite a bit of attention from critics in the past year. It has appeared on some top 10 lists, won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival and has recently been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film by the Academy Awards. I find it was due time I check this little Greek film out. But despite all the attention received, I truly had no idea, no preconceived notion of what it would be about. So needless to say, I was a little shocked, a little unsettled, and though it may be difficult to say, a little entertained even.

The film is one of the most bizarre, ridiculous films I have ever seen. It tells the story of a family: one mother, one father, one son, two daughters. But this is unlike any family you have ever seen. Only the father leaves the grounds on which they live. Everyone else is secluded by the walls to shield them from the danger of the outside world, but by shielding them, they also constrict them, crippling their development as young men and women. I will not discuss where the film leads, or how it gets there, as I may even still be contemplating that, but suffice it to say, the film is surprising in its brutality, its sexuality, and its bluntness.

The best thing about the film is the look of it. It is photographed beautifully and contemplatively. It makes the viewer think and react to the film; it lets the viewer hover over a bland moment long enough to be able see that it is not bland at all, for there is nothing bland about the film at all. They may play hide and seek, or who can hold their finger under the hot water longest, but these are not the traditional games they sound like. Rather they are twisted and shocking, as is everything else about the film.

By the end I was unsure what to think. How does one think about a movie as unique and unsettling as this? It is hard to compare because there is nothing to compare it to. It is hard to rationalize because there is nothing rational about it. It may be hard, but it is not boring. No, boring is not a word that ever crossed my mind while watching this film. So perhaps, then, the fact that the film was never boring means that it was in fact good. I will let you decide that and leave you with one further comment: I know I am not disappointed that I saw this. Heck, I might even go so far as to say I’d like to see it again, and given the nature of the film, that is saying something.

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

2 comments

  • While it is photographed beautifully, I'm not exactly sure if it's contemplating anything worth looking at. By the end, I felt like this film had done nothing interesting with its situation. I was hoping for something at least thought provoking.

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  • Yea, I mean I didn't love it and I think that is the reason: I just couldn't see what it was going for. For me, the enjoyment came from somewhere unknown. I just liked watching this film for one reason or another and maybe it was just the shock value and the beautiful photography. Sometimes that is enough for me. I'm a cheap sell.

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