Dogma


Dogma Information

Dogma is a 1999 American comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also stars in the film along with an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Bud Cort, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, Alanis Morissette, and Jason Mewes.

Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, the stars of Smith's debut film Clerks, have cameo roles, as do Smith regulars Scott Mosier, Dwight Ewell, Walt Flanagan, and Bryan Johnson.

The fourth film set in the View Askewniverse is a hypothetical-scenario film revolving around the Catholic Church and Catholic belief, which caused organized protests and much controversy in many countries, delaying release of the film and leading to at least two death threats against Smith. The film follows two fallen angels, Loki and Bartleby, who, through an alleged loophole in Catholic dogma, find a way to get back into Heaven after being cast out by God. However, as existence is founded on the principle that God is infallible, their success would prove God wrong and thus undo all creation. The last scion and two prophets are sent by the Voice of God to stop them.

Aside from some scenes filmed on the New Jersey shore, most of the film was shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Plot

An old homeless man (Cort) is standing outside a skee ball arcade in New Jersey and is beaten into a coma by three hockey stick-wielding teenagers, the Stygian Triplets.

Two fallen angels, Bartleby (Affleck) and Loki (Damon), were banished from Heaven after an inebriated Loki, with Bartleby's encouragement, resigned as the Angel of Death. Exiled to Wisconsin, the pair see their salvation when a church in Red Bank, New Jersey celebrates its centennial anniversary with a plenary indulgence. They can have their sins forgiven by passing through the doors of that church, and"?upon death"?regain access to Heaven. They fail to realize that this will overrule the word of God and destroy existence.

Bethany Sloane (Fiorentino), an abortion clinic worker, attends a sermon, in which donations are collected for the hospital bills of the homeless man who was beaten into a coma and is now on life support (referred to as John Doe Jersey due to his lack of documentation and living relatives). Later that day, Metatron (Rickman), the Voice of God, appears to her and tasks her with preventing Bartleby and Loki's return. Bethany resists the mission, as she lost her faith in God due to her infertility and resultant divorce. Bethany is attacked by the Stygian Triplets, but is saved by Jay and Silent Bob (Mewes and Smith), two prophets whom Metatron said would appear. She is also aided by Rufus (Rock), the thirteenth apostle who was left out of the Bible for being black, and Serendipity (Hayek), a Muse with writer's block.

The demon Azrael (Lee), a former Muse, warns Bartleby and Loki that the forces of Heaven and Hell are attempting to kill them, as Satan will not let them succeed where he has failed. Bethany's party unwittingly meet the angels on a train, where a drunk Bethany reveals her mission to Bartleby. Bartleby threatens to kill Bethany before a melee ensues, in which Silent Bob throws Bartleby and Loki off the train.

Once Bartleby and Loki realize that their plan will destroy all existence, they are divided: Loki wants to back out, while Bartleby is intent on striking back at God for giving humans free will while demanding servitude from angels. Horrified, Loki tells Bartleby that he sounds like Lucifer and refuses to help him any further, but Bartleby strong-arms him into going forward with their plan.

Bethany learns she was chosen for the mission because she is the last relative of Jesus Christ. The group ponders who orchestrated the angels' plan, and Metatron explains that God goes to Earth in human form every now and again to play skee ball, and has gone missing; someone knew enough to incapacitate God but leaving Him alive in a mortal form, and thus be unable to return to Heaven. The group deduces that Lucifer has as much to lose if Bartleby and Loki succeed as anyone else. Arriving at the church, they fail to persuade Cardinal Glick (Carlin) to cancel the celebration. As revenge, Jay steals Glick's golf club.

When Bartleby and Loki reach the church, Bartleby kills everyone attending the celebration. At a nearby bar, Azrael captures the heroes and explains that he is the mastermind behind the angels' plan; he wants to destroy existence rather than spend eternity in Hell, but he needed to manipulate Bartleby and Loki, as demons cannot become human. Silent Bob kills Azrael with Glick's blessed golf club. Serendipity tells Bethany to bless the sink, making the water in the sink holy; Jay, Rufus and Serendipity kill the Stygian Triplets by dunking their heads into the water.

The heroes reach the church before Bartleby and Loki enter. Loki's wings have been torn off by Bartleby; he is now human and decides to help them. Bartleby kills Loki and fights off Rufus, Serendipity and Bob. During an attempt to seduce Bethany, Jay mentions John Doe Jersey; hoping this is God, Bethany and Bob race to the hospital. Jay shoots off Bartleby's wings with a submachine gun, turning him human.

Bethany removes John Doe Jersey's life support, allowing God to escape while inadvertently killing Bethany. In the form of a woman, God (Morissette) manifests at the church before a remorseful Bartleby, and kills him with the power of Her voice. Silent Bob shows up with Bethany's corpse. God resurrects Bethany and conceives a child inside her. God, Rufus and Serendipity return to Heaven, leaving Bethany, Jay and Bob to reflect on what has happened.

Cast

  • Ben Affleck as Bartleby, a former grigori.
  • Matt Damon as Loki, the former Angel of Death.
  • Linda Fiorentino as Bethany Sloane, an abortion clinic worker who is given the task of stopping Bartleby and Loki from returning to Heaven.
  • Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith as Jay and Silent Bob, two stoner drug-dealing prophets from New Jersey who join Bethany on her quest.
  • Salma Hayek as Serendipity, a muse who got a body on Earth so she could get credit for her work.
  • Chris Rock as Rufus, the thirteenth apostle who claims that his absence from the Bible is because he's black.
  • Alan Rickman as Metatron, the voice of God.
  • Jason Lee as Azrael, a muse who was sent to Hell for refusing to take sides during the war between God and Lucifer.
  • George Carlin as Ignatius Glick, a pompous, publicity-seeking Cardinal.
  • Ethan Suplee as Voice of Golgothan "Shit Demon", an "excremental" (a play on elemental) formed from the excrement of all who were crucified at Golgotha when they died.
  • Barret Hackney, Jared Pfennigwerth, and Kitao Sakurai as The Stygian Triplets, three teenagers brought from Hell by Azrael to aid in his machinations.
  • Bud Cort and Alanis Morissette as God.
  • Janeane Garofalo as Liz, Bethany's co-worker at the abortion clinic.
  • Dwight Ewell as Kane, a gang leader.
  • Brian O'Halloran as Grant Hicks, a reporter.
  • Jeff Anderson as a gun salesman.
  • Guinevere Turner as a bus station attendant.

Reception

The film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay as well as a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America honor for Best Screenplay.

The film opened at #3 in its opening weekend with approximately $8,669,945, behind The Bone Collector (the previous week's champion) and the newly released Pokémon: The First Movie. The film would eventually gross a domestic total of $30,652,890 from a modest $10 million budget.

Critics were mostly positive about the film; it has a 67% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus "Provocative and audacious, Dogma entertains without overtly offending"; it fared much better with fans, ranking 84% by the community. On Metacritic, the film received a rating of 62 percent based on 36 reviews, with an 7.7/10 by fans based on 35 votes.

The film was screened out of competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

Production

Before shooting, Kevin Smith warned Jason Mewes that he needed to be on point due to the involvement of "real actors," such as Alan Rickman. As a result, Mewes memorized not only his dialogue, but the dialogue for every character in the entire screenplay, much to Smith's surprise. Mewes stated that his primary motivation for doing this was because he "didn't want to piss off that Rickman dude."

According to Smith's comments on the Dogma publicity stills on the film's official website, there was going to be a final face-off between Silent Bob on one side and the redhead Triplet and the Golgothan on the other side in the hospital. The Triplet would come back with a burned-out face, and at the end of the battle, God would turn the Golgothan into flowers but the scene was dropped from the final cut of the film.

Soundtrack

See Dogma: Music from the Motion Picture for more information

Sequel

In late November 2005, Smith was asked about a possible Dogma sequel on the ViewAskew.com message boards. His response:

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This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dogma_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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