Dogtooth

"Excellent"

Dogtooth Review


This rather mannered allegory will annoy some filmgoers with its elliptical plot and heavy-handed message. But there's no denying the film's power to grab our attention and make us think. And it's cleverly well-made.

A Greek family lives in an isolated, walled-in enclosure where the parents (Stergioglou and Valley) have raised their children (Papoulia, Passalis and Tsoni) in a fantasy world. These teens have grown up thinking that everything outside wants to kill them: kittens scaling the walls are man-eating predators and airplanes flying overhead are taunting toys thrown by outsiders. But puberty presents other problems, and the father brings a work colleague (Kalaitzidou) home to service the son. But she opens a door of curiosity that the three kids can't resist.

The film feels unstuck in time, as the household seems trapped in the 1980s, which is part of the gimmick. So is the way the parents subtly twist the language they teach their children, using nonsensical definitions to keep them from asking too many questions. This limited life clearly warps the children's imaginations, as their role-playing games show. And as they begin wondering what's really outside, everyone's world is about to crumble. Which may not be a bad thing.

Parallels with the global political situation are obvious, as filmmaker Lanthimos playfully explores the effects of isolationism and fear-mongering.

Without his witty touches, the film would be almost insufferably pretentious, but it has a blackly comical tone that keeps us off guard and helps cover some gaping plot holes. The film also benefits from inventively sundrenched cinematography, with still, askew framing that make it visually striking.

This is an extremely smart movie that's also oddly cold, mainly because the parents have refused to let these young adults grow up. But their bodies and minds are crying out for more mature ways to express themselves, resulting in shocking moments of sex and violence. The title refers to a mythical tooth the children are waiting to get, so they can be safe outside. It's like a carrot dangled in front of a horse to get it to continue on the path. But these are human beings, so of course they learn unintended lessons from their parents too.



Dogtooth

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 11th November 2009

Box Office USA: $0.1M

Distributed by: Kino International

Production compaines: Boo Productions, Horsefly Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 57 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Giorgos Lanthimos

Producer: Yorgos Tsourgiannis, Giorgos Tsourianis

Starring: Hristos Passalis as Son, as Older Daughter, Mary Tsoni as Younger Daughter, Christos Stergioglou as Father, Michele Valley as Mother, Anna Kalaitzidou as Christina, Steve Krikris as Colleague, Sissy Petropoulou as Secretary (as Athanasia Petropoulou), Alexander Voulgaris as Dog trainer

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