A darkly comic, discomfiting and deliberately provocative work that draws parallels with recent contemporary events. Dogtooth is shocking, compelling and perversely erotic. In a house on the edge of the city live a self-contained family. The only person allowed to leave is the father. The mother remains enclosed, 'protecting' her son and two daughters from the evils of the outside world. However, when the son reaches an age where it is deemed that his sexual needs should be met, this insular and radical environment is threatened by the arrival of a female security guard. Capturing incidents that range from the weird to the repulsive, Dogtooth presents a sharp and frequently startling look at modern life. Particularly evocative of the work of Michael Haneke this is cinema at its most bold and brilliant.
This is a strange one. From the outset I will say that I found the movie unpleasant. Nevertheless the movie has been well received in the festival circuit and by the usual bands of critics and I will admit it has some merit, but not, for me, five stars.
Lanthimos focusses on a family with parents, for whatever reason, impose a regime of complete isolation on their three grown up children; two girls and a boy. The vocabulary of the children has been deliberately warped by the parents to confuse what is reality and their daily life consists of engaging in obscure competitive games. The imminent sexual needs of the boy are catered for by a woman who is brought in from the father's factory. It is this woman, however, who brings about a chink in the isolationism imposed on the children. The father uses some cruel violence to try and protect the world he is projecting on the family. The cessation of the 'outside' woman's services leads to an even darker turn in the children's relationships. I did find the direction of the movie somewhat leaden at times yet the themes explored are interesting but disturbing. The movie could be seen as a critique on 'authoritarianism' and how ultimately it fails, whether it be in the national 'state' or the family; how language is perverted to infantilize and control people and 'competitiveness' to maintain tension and obedience. On the other hand, if one is very 'modern', the movie might be regarded in 'modern' terms as a 'comedy'. But, for me, no laughs.