Dogma

Cast
Ben Affleck .... Bartleby
George Carlin .... Cardinal Glick
Matt Damon .... Loki
Linda Fiorentino .... Bethany
Salma Hayek .... Serendipity
Jason Lee .... Azrael
Jason Mewes .... Jay
Alan Rickman .... Metatron
Chris Rock .... Rufus
Bud Cort .... John Doe Jersey
Alanis Morissette .... God
Kevin Smith .... Silent Bob
Janeane Garofalo .... Clinic Girl
Written and Directed by
Kevin Smith


        Dogma is less of a film and more a mishmash of modernized religious ideas and images represented by a good script and talented actors. I am a great admirer of Kevin Smith's work and I found this piece to be the least cohesive. It's spread out and at times to talkative. This could definitely be because this was a script that was written before Clerks, before Smith honed his craft. Clerks was a great film. In my mind, Clerks is his best film with Chasing Amy in second and the underrated Mallrats in 3rd.

 

        The story of Dogma is that of two fallen angels, Loki and Bartleby, who were banished to Wisconsin by G-d for disobeying. They have found a loophole to get back into heaven. They have to go into a church in Red Bank, New Jersey. Linda Fiorentino plays Bethany, a young catholic woman that’s works in an abortion clinic with Janeane Garafalo. She is sent on a holy mission to stop them from entering the church. This mission is given to her by Metatron (Alan Rickman), the holiest angel that speaks for G-d AKA G-d’s head cabinet member. She is assisted in this mission by the Kevin Smith regular's Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) and by Rufus (Chris Rock), the African American 13th Apostle who has been cut out of the bible and a muse of heaven named Serendipity (Salma Hayek) . The existence of the world is in the hand of this eclectic bunch. Besides stopping the angels, they must battle Azrael (Jason Lee), muse of Lucifer, and his group of deadly rollerbladers.

 

         Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were excellent. It seems like whenever they get together a good movie decides to get made. I can't say the same for Rounders, Armageddon and Phantoms. Saving Private Ryan doesn't count because Damon was barely in that movie. Damon's best moment in the film was in the first scene he is featured in when he convinces a nun that G-d is a big sham. It's a very intelligent and gut wrenchingly funny scene. Affleck is the softer and smarter of the two. He is low-key/calming factor to Loki maniacal nature.

 

         Jay and Silent Bob were impressive as usual. Although I think Jay went a little too crazy on the expletives at certain points. It seemed a bit unnatural and contrived like many points in the movie. People in the real world don't make speeches all the time. Another Smith regular, Jason Lee, is probably the best part of the film. His portrayal of Azrael is just so superb. George Carlin puts ina good perofrmance as a Cardinal who is trying to bring peopel back to the church through modernizing it. He is very funny. Chris Rock is decent as Rufus. He's on screen a lot but he's doing the same shtick. He makes loud jokes about African American injustices. I guess if something works milk it right. That's the American way.

 
         Now onto the weakest links in the movie, the skaters from Hell and the female leads. The skaters of hell rollerblade around, killing people with their hockey sticks. They were basically a waste. They are useless lackeys with no speaking parts. The only cool thing they did was make a cut in the sky and then jump into it. That was pretty awesome. Now, I will attack Hayek.  When will people get it that she is not the best at parts with long sentences.   They should enact the Arnold Schwartznegger rule on her. One or two lines at a time.  Otherwise it becomes indecipherable and just a waste of time. I understand that she is extremely attractive but that doesn't mean she should get good parts all the time to mess up. She was as bad here as Demi Moore was in Striptease. Desperado was a good film and was probably the first and last good role for Banderas and Hayek.  Sorry Salma.

 

        As for our other female lead, Linda Fiorentino, her acting talents match her looks. Decent looks, decent actress. Nothing special. There must be no good actresses out there because lately all I've seen is women ruining movies. Whether it's Patricia Arquette in Bringing Out The Dead or Stigmata, Diane Venora in The Insider or Hayek in Dogma, there seems to be a real shortage of good female actors. I could probably count on my fingers the number of Good Actresses in Hollywood.  Let's see there is Frances McDormand, Annette Bening, Susan Surandon, Jodie Foster, and Gwenyth Paltrow (sometimes).  I'm talking about the ones in major films, there are many indie actresses like Emily Watson and Cate Blanchett who are exceptional. Dogma has taken mediocre mainstream actresses and put them in an indie picture to boost ticket sales and to have more big names on the marquee. I mean there are actresses out there that their movies make money bit they just aren't that good.  This list includes Ashley Judd, Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore.  Sorry about the rant, things just must be said sometimes.

 

        Kevin Smith's direction is superb. The special effects are very cool. I loved the angel wings. They are really awesome. The editing is nicely done with cool transitional movements from scene to scene but the movie does run a little long. I have heard from many sources that this film originally clocked in at around 3 hours, which would have been way too long.

 

        Although Dogma has some flaws overall it is a decent movie. It's a very funny satirical look at today's idea of religion, our way of thinking and so much more. When the film becomes contrived, that's when it stumbles. Dogma is just an elaborate and thought provoking joke. It definitely proves Mr. Smith has read his bible. It has good direction and special effects. If you're in the mood for a really funny movie, Dogma might be your cup of tea.

2.5 Stars out of 4.

P.S. If you're going to see Dogma for Alanis Morrissette don't. It's not worth the trip

Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 4/ B-/ 6 out of 10/ 63 out of 100
Reviewed by: Joe Soria
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Rated R for very explicit language, sexual innuendos, violence, dark themes and a tad of nudity (Chris Rock's ass).

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This soundtrack is pretty good. It features a new track by Alanis Morissette and more. Give a listen, it only costs $12.58.

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