Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Linda Fiorentino, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Salma Hayek, Alanis Morissette
Synopsis: The Catholic Church is looking to revamp its image, instituting an event permitting the forgiveness of all sins. Two angels exiled from heaven take this as an opportunity to be forgiven and re-enter heaven. However, if they succeed, it will make the demands of God void, and as such spell the end of all existence.
A review by Film Nerd.
At the time of its release, Dogma was considered a very controversial film… a comedy about Catholic Faith which represents the clergy as exceedingly foolish. To those that took this perception, though essentially being very accurate, have missed an even deeper message that this film is trying to convey.
This is the fourth film in Kevin Smith’s View Askew production series, that began with Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy, and that was followed by Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks II. Aside from Smith directing, and many of the lead cast returning from various films in each of these to play different roles, the one clear connective thread in this series are Jay and Silent Bob, here cast as “prophets” to help guide Fiorentino’s Bethany on her heaven-sent quest to prevent two exiled angels, Bartleby (Affleck) and Loki (Damon), once again gaining access to heaven and ending existence.
The plot sounds pretty heavy, but it is shot in the same tone as the other comedy’s in this series, with big ideas conveyed with buffoonery and a great sense of fun. Bethany is the straight guy in the proceedings, surrounded by absurd characters. She receives the quest from the Metatron, the angel that acts as the voice of God, and delivered in Rickman’s unique tones. He is a character full of sarcasm, especially as he is not permitted to imbibe alcohol after Bartleby and Loki’s drinking antics that got them expelled from heaven initially. Jay and Silent Bob have already been mentioned, and are no different from any of their other outings, so fans of that schtick, like myself, can sit back and enjoy. Chris Rock is as ever brilliant, playing the thirteenth disciple, the one that was never mentioned in the bible because he was black. For me the real surprise of this film when I first saw it was Affleck and Damon. The shine had started to wear off of their run post-Good Will Hunting, but here they do show the depths they have to offer, Affleck included, putting the viewer in the position of wishing to see them defeated, but also completely understanding why they are willing to go to such lengths.
If easily offended, especially in matters of faith, it is nor worth your time seeing this through, given that it is very irreverent. If you are curious on another perspective on faith, however, this film has something for you. As in the end, this film is actually not against people having a system of Faith, the source of its satire being more specifically organised religion. So of course the Catholic clergy would be concerned about their patrons viewing it…
4 stars (out of a possible 5)
Dogma on IMDB
Dogma on Rotten Tomatoes