Dogtooth [Kynodontas] (2009) Review

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Plot Details: A husband and wife keep their children ignorant of the world outside their property well into adulthood, isolating them until they finally break and rebel against their parents Totalitarian-like rules and norms.

Woah. I mean, just woah. Seeing this movie is definitely a life-altering experience in more ways than one. It is not for the easily-offended, or the squeamish, or the lighthearted. Because this movie is the absolute furthest thing from lighthearted, touching on themes of family life, alienation, isolation, and control, to name a few. If you think these things won’t bother you, then by all means see this film as soon as humanly possible.

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The film’s performances were beyond extraordinary, given the fact that most of the cast aren’t big name professional actors. Christos Stergioglou and Michele Valley play the overly-stern mother and father, in two of the finest performances of 2009 in my opinion. You really feel like you are watching a real family interact with each other, however bizarre they may be. Mary Tsoni and Hristos Passalis also give incredible performances as the younger daughter and son, but perhaps the finest performance of the entire film was by Aggeliki Papoulia, who played the oldest daughter. I’ll say this a thousand times over, from year to year, till the end of my life and I will never change my mind; these are some of the most shockingly realistic performances I have, or possibly will ever, see.

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The direction was done by Giorgos Lanthimos, who stuck to his guns and delivered shocking sequences left and right. It’s always very enlightening to see a director who makes such a film without censoring his work and have it turn out this brilliant. The production values were breathtaking and the cinematography was crisp, I was extremely surprised to learn that the budget of this film was only about 323,000 USD. I thought the budget was low, but not nearly that low.

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The screenplay was co-written by the film’s director Giorgos Lanthimos, and Efthymis Filippou, and it is easily one of the finest produced screenplays ever in my opinion. The daringly original subject matter and overall feeling of claustrophobia in each scene are perfectly paired with darkly comedic satire and blunt themes of isolation, with harsh dialogue and over-the-top sequences of sexuality and violence peppered throughout.

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In conclusion, “Dogtooth” is the kind of movie that will leave you dumbfounded and in a shocked silence, a claustrophobic, disturbing masterpiece that is definitely not for the faint of heart. A daringly original, unsettling movie that will stick with you for an eternity. But if you can take its lashing sequences of brutal physical and mental violence, and its bizarre sexuality then I highly recommend this movie. But be forewarned.

My Rating: 10/10

Thanks for Reading!

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