Dogtooth is a surprising, sometimes shocking, sometimes maddening vicious little film that serves up dark satire with plenty of tense, incredulous laughter. But make no mistake; this is no comedy in the traditional sense. This Greek flick is deceptively slow-witted, drawing us in to a very different world. The film chronicles the three teenage children (one older brother, two twin sisters) kept at home in isolation by their parents. These kids have been taught to fear the outside world, they have been taught erroneous vocabulary (a “zombie” is a yellow flower; a woman’s privates are known as a “typewriter”), they believe that cats are man-eating beasts, that Frank Sinatra is their grandfather singing to them, their dead little brother lives on the other side of a hedge that they toss food to, and that overhead planes can be plucked from the sky. They even have to get on all fours and bark to scare away intruders. And then there’s a troubling budding sexual element, made considerably more complicated once the woman the father hires to satisfy his son introduces sexual curiosity to the twin sisters. Dogtooth is a detached yet fascinating portrait of one seriously screwed up family, where children are trying to make sense of the limited and sometimes fantastical concepts they’ve learned through severe sheltering. This manufactured artificial world, a satiric swipe at those who believe ignorance to be a suitable protection, is perilous yet believable. Dogtooth raises plenty of questions about the nature of society, parenting, knowledge, responsibility, and identity all in a package of bleak social satire that Luis Bunuel could admire. It may take some effort, but give yourself over to this Greek oddity and enjoy the unique weirdness.
Nate’s Grade: A-