Thoughts on Dogtooth

Friday, January 28, 2011 12:43 PM By Simon

-A domineering father (Christos Stergioglou), a complacent mother (Michelle Valley), a curiously rebellious older daughter (Aggeliki Papoulia), a shy young daughter (Mary Tsoni), and an (evidentally) sexually selfish son live together in a bizarre world within their swanky compound, with only the father allowed to leave for work and supplies. The children have never left the compound, and through warnings of certain death outside the fence, a fabled brother who lives just beyond after being cast out, and renaming of 'outside' words to apply to household items ('phone' is a saltshaker, etc), they are in place to never attempt to do so. Passionless sex, incest, animal mutilation, and the like ensue.

-So bizarre is the opening ten minutes that when the hardcore shit shows up, you take it with a shrug, because what were you expecting? A grotesque world painted in pastels, whites, and red balloons, offering no explanation but for a passing reference to protecting their children from corruption.

-Performances are lovely all around, but really, it's the director's show. Yorgos Lanthimos gives us a world claustrophobic, tight and controlled, just barely hiding the sometimes-subliminal, sometimes-not brutality crawling under the projection of the camera, the skin of the actors, the shrubbery lining the fence, the good job stickers attached to the childrens' headboards. Everything about this film is coated in frank transgression disguised as security. I love it.

-Best movie reference ever.


Robert said...

Great thoughts. This is a director's movie. For some reason, Mary Tsoni's performance stood out to me though - she played it with such quiet, innocent complacency. It was perfect.

January 28, 2011 at 7:10 PM
Andreas said...

Which movie reference? Rocky, Jaws, or Flashdance?

Dogtooth is such a great movie. I'd say "Everyone should see it," but that would be a lie, because I can think of a lot of people who SHOULDN'T see it. It's really hard to take.

But it's so funny, so weirdly witty, and so beautiful in a horrible way. I love it.

January 29, 2011 at 2:04 AM
Anonymous said...

I don't get how the son was sexually selfish. Elaborate?

The girl needs to stop licking/"licking" people. Ew-ugh.

February 1, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Simon said...

Robert: It's hard to think she's a punk singer in real life.

Andreas: All of them. And, yeah, I wouldn't show this to my mother.

Franz: He refuses to go down on Christina, and, in fact, probably suscribes to his parents' apparent ideology that only men have sexual needs. At least, that's how I saw it.

February 2, 2011 at 8:11 AM
Anonymous said...

Oh, interesting. I didn't see it that way. I thought he just didn't appreciate the vagina.

February 3, 2011 at 9:50 PM
Anonymous said...

Looking forward to checking this out on Netflix Instant within the next week or so...can't wait, it sounds like a trip.

February 9, 2011 at 8:18 AM