Dogtooth is a bonkers tale about three teenagers who live an isolated life on their family’s estate due to strict rules set by totalitarian parents. Their vocabulary is limited and their perception of the world is strange. They’re taught that cats are bloodthirsty monsters, that disobedience is grounds for horrific punishment, and that the world outside the house will kill them.
Equal parts bizarrely funny and disturbingly terrifying, director Yorgos Lanthimos pulls no punches with this fascinating examination of authoritarianism. As usual with his actors, they are directed to deliver lines in a matter-of-fact, often even deadpan manner, making the escalating lies and deceptions more and more unsettling as the film goes on. Thimios Bakatakis’ cinematography also places the twisted tale in a home that has a somewhat dreamlike beauty.
Those who enjoy dark, comical situations told with dry humor will be amused by Dogtooth. Those who enjoy stories that quietly build up to gruesome conclusions will also be amused by Dogtooth. It takes a unique mind to depict nameless children being subjugated and stripped of the fundamentals of conceptualization in an isolated world, and treat it as an absurdist comedy rather than a flat-out horror film. Lanthimos does it.
Dogtooth gets good reviews from the public, while GN’s “Climax” or LVT “Dancer in the Dark” do not. I’m not here to figure this dilmena out, maybe “Dogtooth” is simply as accessible as say, “The lobster” while the aforementioned works aren’t.
In any case, it’s spectacular, but it’s also very derivative of what came before. To the untrained eye, it’s original and defies the rules of cinema, to the movie lover it’s another “Lanthimos”. And in a sense, while I think “Dogtooth” is maybe his best work, I do worry that Lanthimos only does Lanthimos. This is at odds with the Carruths, the Triers, the Noes and Carrax of this world.
Amazing, but not something you haven’t seen before if you love films.
What did you think? Who should watch it?