Writer/Director/Near Silent Actor, Kevin Smith's new film Dogma is a terrific satire of organized religion, and the strongest faith film I've seen. It's a hilarious comic book style journey, in which all of existence is at risk.
The basic rundown is this (and I know it is a little complicated and long, but I'm really not ruining anything so you can read it):
Bethany, an abortion clinic worker who's faith is lacking, is given the task (by The Metatron, the voice of God) of stopping two fallen angels, Bartleby and Loki, from entering a New Jersey church on a day in which all sins of a person will be washed away if they walk through the church's doors. This day is part of the Catholic Church's attempt to contemporize itself in a campaign entitled `CATHOLICISM WOW!' led by a Cardinal Glick. If Bartleby and Loki get through the doors, then die, they will be allowed back into Heaven, but will also negate existence. Bethany doesn't have to stop them on her own though. She's helped along the way by Jay and Silent Bob, a couple of drug dealers from Jersey with whom fans of Smith's other films will be familiar. Along the way, Bethany, Jay and Bob run into Rufus, the 13th apostle who was left out of the bible because he's black, and Serendipity, a muse who is working at a strip club after her attempt to use her ideas for herself failed. Also involved in the story, are Azrael, a demon on a self centered mission of his own, The Golgathon, a creature made of excrement, The Styngian Triplets, three teen hockey playing demons who work for Azrael, a golden calf named Mooby, and of course God!
The film is Smith's love letter to God, and it shows. I've never seen anything this strongly pro-faith before, so when you read that it's anti-God, it's a bunch of horseshit! Smith's made the film very accessible by making it a living comic book, full of crude and very funny jokes.
The cast is fantastic. If ya want, here's the rundown of the main players: Linda Fiorentino Ben Affleck Matt Damon Jason Mewes Kevin Smith Chris Rock Salma Hayek Alan Rickman Jason Lee George Carlin Alanis Morrisette
Everyone is great, with Affleck being the big stand out. Also, Alanis (in her small amount of screen time) is GREAT!!! I can't say enough about her performance. It's one of the most enjoyable, and beautiful performances I've seen. It's just so damn good!!! Anyone who criticizes her performance is just being a dick, and doesn't want to admit that she's good.
The film has a relatively slow pace, but it suits it (it's only 2 hours long with credits, don't worry). It's a nice pace that gives the film a bigger size. The trek that's made by the characters seems bigger and more important thanks to the pace. The interesting thing about the film's pace is that there are A LOT of long dialogues, but they're never boring. Dialogue is what Smith does best, and here he is as good as he's been at writing witty dialogue that means something underneath its lowbrow skin.
Dogma is currently my third favourite film of the year, behind Fight Club and Being John Malkovich. The only two films I can see beating it out this year are Magnolia and Man On The Moon, so it's safe to say that Dogma is one of the year's best, funniest, and definitely intelligent films.
P.s. Stick around for the end of the credits cuz Smith's next film is announced. I'm disappointed by it, and see it as a step back from Dogma, but I'll still be there to see it on opening day.
Jeff re-watched Batman: The Movie (60's) the other day, and had forgotten how damn funny it was. Don't forget. Rent or buy it today!