Dogma (1999)

Directed and Written by Kevin Smith

Ben Affleck, George Carlin, Bud Cort, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Janeane Garofalo, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Alanis Morissette, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Kevin Smith, Jeff Anderson, Brian O’Halloran.

Deeply comedic take on religion, where two fallen angels, Bartleby and Loki, (Affleck and Damon), who have been stuck on Earth for a couple of millennia, find a loophole in getting back to heaven, by walking through the arches of a new Catholic church.  The only problem is if they succeed they will prove God wrong, and destroy all of human existence.

Soon a young woman Bethany (Fiorentino) is called upon by the voice of God, the Metatron (Rickman) to head to the church in order to stop them. She is soon joined by assistance from two ‘prophets’ Jay and Silent Bob (Mewes and Smith), as well as others – and find themselves against more antagonists like demon Azrael (Lee).

Big ups for this film is the screenplay – it is clearly one of Smith’s most ambitious film at the time, and still is to this time. It is both a hilarious dark comedy, and almost an education on religion to the uneducated. It also does not give away the big reveal until the mid point in the film, and makes the viewer work for the information – which is one of the reasons Smith is a great storyteller. There are some very darkly comic moments, and is not for those who are offended easily (sorry not sorry Gen Z).

While far from career bests from most of the cast, they almost all do a great job – especially Affleck and Damon. My main problem with the film (and the general consensus agrees) that Fiorentino was woefully miscast. She seems completely bored by her role, and her performance hurts the film.

Some other downs are some dated CGI and poor camera angles that don’t really work. These are just minor gripes in an otherwise very good film. Another in a long line of great films from 1999.

A brilliant score by (eventual) 3 time Oscar winner Howard Shore.



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