DOGMA (1999) 

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Ben Affleck
Matt Damon
Linda Fiorentino
Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith
Salma Hayek
Jason Lee
Alan Rickman
Chris Rock
George Carlin
Janeane Garofalo

Kevin Smith



Time: 130 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy

DOGMA is an intelligent, provocative and downright funny film. Did I forget to mention offensive? Well, it wasn't to me, but I know it's going to anger alot of people out there. Do people who hold their religion dear, have a right to be upset? I suppose, since the film has it's vulgar moments. It also made me laugh out loud. Smith claims this is a movie about rediscovering faith in God, whatever your concept of the almighty is, and he's right. Despite the cursing and the violence, DOGMA is an extremely uplifting film with alot to say about the world and life here on Earth. The fact that God is portrayed as a woman, probably doesn't sit well with many strict Catholics, but you can't please everybody. One may not agree with Smith's opinions, but it takes great courage to explore such a dangerous topic.

DOGMA is the story of two fallen angels, Bartleby and Loki (played by Affleck and Damon) who are desperate to return to heaven and the ramshackle crew who is destined to stop them. They pissed off God by refusing to do their jobs, so they were condemned to walk the Earth until the end of human existence. They are tired of watching mortal man wander around the world, so when an opportunity to return home presents itself, nothing will stop them. A loophole in Catholic dogma gives them the chance to free themselves of all sin so that if they immediately die, they will go directly to heaven. The problem, despite the fact that God doesn't want them back, is that if they do manage to pull their plan off, it will end all existence.

God will appear infallible and if it was proclaimed that they stay on Earth until the end of time and they don't, well...everything will have to go. Unfortunately for the human race, Bartleby and Loki are beyond caring about the consequences of their actions. Of course, somebody has to try to stop them and that's where the rest of the cast comes in. Bethany (Fiorentino) is visited by Metatron (Rickman), the voice of God, and given the task of stopping the angels from entering the church. She can't believe he is actually an angel and doesn't understand why God chose her. She hates God and doesn't believe he exists anymore. Metatron informs her that "She" definitely does exist and that Bethany is their only hope. Her faith and patience are greatly tested on the road to New Jersey.

"You people! If it hasn't been made into a movie, it's not worth knowing about, is that it?"

She gets help in the form of the Prophets, Jay and Silent Bob, the Apostle, played by Chris Rock, and Seredipity, played by Salma Hayek. In the end though, the only one who can save the world is herself. It looks like they almost won't succeed due to the deviousness of Azriel (Jason Lee), a demon who would rather see the world cease to exist than spend another day outside of heaven. However, God has other plans. The film gets a little out of control at the end, but ultimately it works. DOGMA is a film steeped in Christian mythology that really gets the wheels turning. Smith obviously did a lot of research about the origins of Christianity before he put a single word on paper. I'm sure many people would disagree with what he has to say, but it sure is interesting. The ending gets more than a bit out of hand which is a shame for a film with so much to say. The violance has a point, but that still doesn't make it necessary. I guess Smith wanted to hedge his bets a bit by throwing in some mainstream scenes. Smith may claim he doesn't know the first thing about filming a movie, but he sure knows how to cast one.

The cast is brilliant with everyone putting in memorable performances. I was thrilled to see Alan Rickman again, an actor sorely underutilized in the world of film. He gives the film great wit and class. Salma Hayek and Linda Fiorentino play women who are smart and strong as well as beautiful. It's about time somebody created roles for them to showcase their talent. Chris Rock is hysterical as always as the unknown black disciple. Damon and Affleck are great as the frustrated angels. Their obvious deep friendship lends their roles an extra layer and their inherent arrogance is perfect for the roles of two fallen angels. What can I say about Jay and Silent Bob? They lend their own special touch to this film as in all of Smiths' outings. It wouldn't be the same without them. If you're looking for a comedy that will make you laugh as well as think, DOGMA is the one for you. Unless you're offended by vulgar language or take your faith seriously.

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