Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Dogma (1999)

Starring Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, et al
Rated R, 130 minutes

The last scion, or for us mortals, descendant of God, is called upon to save existence. Bethany (played by Fiorentino) is joined by two prophets, Jay & Silent Bob, and a whole host of others to do so. Guiding her along the way is the voice of God, Metatron (Rickman).

Why is existence itself in jeopardy? Two angels, Bartleby and Loki (Affleck & Damon) can get back into heaven by clearing their sins through a “magic gate” – the entry arch of a Jersey church, which just happens to be renovating under the “Christianity WOW!” banner. If they get back in, this proves God wrong, which in turn eliminates...uh, everything. Here to stop the quest to heed the angels is Azrael (played by Jason Lee), an ex-muse who has a band of hockey-garbed weirdos who can kill you with a slapshot. Uh huh.

Don’t let all that fool you, it’s spelled out…in that horrid “Star Wars” prequel-type dialogue. Y’know, that kind that’s purely utilitarian and is not really entertaining at all. Other than that, the movie is largely good, with the casting both star-powered and well done. Chris Rock plays Rufus, the 13th apostle, who falls to earth to join the band. Selma Hayek plays a muse-turned-stripper who also helps the gang. George Carlin is the priest and head of the New Jersey church in question.

If you like smart comedies, dive in – it’s a Kevin Smith movie, so naturally there’s snappy dialogue, great one-liners and pop culture references to jazz up the proceedings. Not to mention he’s got a budget this time, and uses it well...to make sure all those who came from heaven don't have genitalia. Uh huh.


As I said, the flaws lie in that crappy storytelling that crops up here and there. And did Smith really need to challenge everything in the Bible? Some of it made sense in the context of the story, but some of it came across as random “let’s piss off the religious freaks” stuff. It’s a bit bloated as the length could tell you – and surprisingly enough, there was stuff cut left and right. But I still enjoyed every minute. So if you’re not offended by religious satire – go nuts.

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