Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Janeane Garofalo, George Carlin, Brian O'Halloran and Kevin Smith.
Written And Directed By: Kevin Smith
I first saw Dogma when it was originally released back in 1999. I had seen all of Kevin Smith's prior films (Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy) and was excited beyond belief. As it turns out, my excitement prior did not come close to how excited I was afterwards. I realized I had just seen a brilliant piece of filmaking, something rare in Hollywood these days. Written to near perfection by writer/director/actor Smith who must have done extensive research on the Catholic religion for this script which was originally written before Clerks. The said reason for not making Dogma earlier is lack of budget and Smith had not yet established a name for himself. The DVD special edition of Dogma contains an essay written by Smith about the long road to create his "biblical" masterpiece.
The cast gave performances to die for, despite on the set dificulties with Linda Fiorentino, her performance was still admirable. However, I believe the real acting geniuses came in the form of angels, Bartleby and Loki, played by Affleck and Damon respectively. Personally, this is Matt Damon's best performance I have seen, oh and I did see Good Will Hunting in case you thought I was a moron. He was hilarious and his lines were delivered with conviction and perfect timing. Affleck also shined in what could have been an award winning performance, if not for the film's "controversial" premise. Controversial because the Church hates anything depicting religion as anything but flawless which really bothers me how such a great film can be shrouded with hate because of religion. Anyway, back to the performances, Alan Rickman, as always is top-notch as God's messenger Metatron. Jason Lee, whom is so under-appreciated it isn't even funny, Chris Rock playing the 13th apostle Rufus is also key, and how can a Kevin Smith movie be mentioned without Jay and Silent Bob. Like Smith's other movies, the dynamic duo of Jersey return playing a larger part in the film's outcome than Smith's earlier work.
The plot is not too simple, it focuses on two renegade angels attempting to gain access back into heaven. They must move through the doors of a Catholic church in New Jersey where they accept anyone and declare them wiped free of sins. Because God wished to banish the two forever, they can never return, or it would prove God wrong. To do this, the world would end because God is flawless. To prevent their entry, the voice of God(Metatron) is sent to retrieve a mere mortal to save the world. This is all I will say to save thse who haven't seen it.
The hidden messages in the film are somewhat subtle but at times obvious. The one that initially comes to mind is Mooby. Mooby is said to be the biggest false idol on the face of the planet. When people should idolize God, they spend their money on Mooby merchandise. Ultimately this is View Askew's own Mickey Mouse. Try to find the other more subtle messages, it gives the film extra replay value. Because of the replay value, tremendous script, fabulous acting and Alanis Morissette as God (I found it amusing) I give Dogma a 9/10.