Nominated for Best Foreign Language Picture, the Greek film Dogtooth is one of the best - and also the strangest - movies of the last year. An exploration of humanity without the typical confines set by modern society, or something along those lines, Dogtooth is compelling, alluring, troubling and memorable.
Dogtooth is about a man and woman who have raised their three children - two daughters and a son - in isolation from the rest of the world. The three kids, now in their late teenage years or early twenties, have grown up not knowing what exists outside the walls of their compound. They don't know what a phone is, they've never seen a movie and they believe that the outside world is a dangerous place where few venture.
When planes fly overhead, their parents throw toy versions into the yard. They are innocent to the world around them, victims to their parents, and yet like any human they are curious and restless.
To describe in any further detail what Dogtooth is would betray what the film offers, but suffice to say writer/director Giorgos Lanthimos has created a modern masterpiece. The movie is at once straightforward and complex, subdued in tone and rich with emotion.
Lanthimos approaches every scene with the same even-footing, never overdramatizing or over-presenting what occurs. And yet Dogtooth slowly becomes more and more twisted, the disturbing consequences of the parents' decisions unfolding piece by piece.
Dogtooth isn't for everyone, but it is one of the most fulfilling movies I've seen in years. Highly recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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