Blu-Ray Review: Don’t Miss Twisted Comedy of Greek ‘Dogtooth’

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CHICAGO – When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their 2011 nominees, one of the more surprising choices was the Greek entry for Best Foreign Language Film, the subversive black comedy “Dogtooth.” It’s not the choice was undeserving, but it’s certainly one of the weirdest, darkest, and most disturbing films ever nominated by a group that usually goes heartwarming in this category. There’s nothing heartwarming about “Dogtooth” outside of those who take comfort in hearing from a fascinating new international voice in cinema. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Fans of Michael Haneke (“Cache”) and Gaspar Noe (“Enter the Void”) should definitely sign up for this twisted trip as it plays off themes that have long been of interest to both filmmakers in its dissection of suburban psychodrama. What would happen if a family completely walled off their children from all possible interaction? How would they develop? And what if their “home schooling” wasn’t exactly comforting or even accurate?

“Dogtooth” is a surreal suburban nightmare about three now-grown children who have clearly never left their family compound. Their parents have not only sheltered them but made up new definitions of words and made them fear cats so much that they drop to all fours and bark like dogs to keep them at bay. The problems start when the oldest child, a son, starts to have sexual needs that the father decides to appease. He brings home a young lady to sexually please his son and the intrusion by the outside world wakes up everyone in the house, leading to a shocking final scene that ends with perhaps the best single final frame of the last year.

Dogtooth will be released on Blu-Ray on March 29th, 2011
Dogtooth will be released on Blu-Ray on March 29th, 2011
Photo credit: Kino

At times funny and at other times very, very disturbing, “Dogtooth” is a mesmerizing experience overall. Director and co-writer Yorgos Lanthimos took some enormous risks making this film and they paid off. This is a not a comedy for everyone. In fact, you may not even find it funny (although I am sure much of it is intended as twisted satire more than something that should be taken with a completely straight face). But whatever you think of the unusual tone of “Dogtooth,” you will not soon forget it. The same can’t be said about every 2011 Academy Award nominee.

Sadly, “Dogtooth” barely registered when it was released in theaters stateside. Critics generally loved it and enough Academy members saw it to get that surprising nomination, but it only made $110k in the United States (and not much more than that worldwide). This is the kind of under-seen gem that will surely find a loyal, devoted audience on DVD and Blu-ray. Imagine if you saw the early films of Lars Von Trier or Michael Haneke before they were legends on the foreign film scene. Be the first to know the name Yorgos Lanthimos.

Special Features:
o Interview With Director Yorgos Lanthimos
o Deleted Scenes
o Trailer
o Photo Gallery
o Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

“Dogtooth” stars Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Aggelini Papoulia, Christos Passalis, Mary Tsoni, and Anna Kalaitzidou. It was written by Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthimis Filippou and direted by Lanthimos. It will be released on Blu-ray on March 29th, 2011. It is not rated and runs 93 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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