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Dogma is a Americanmarker adventure-comedy-fantasy film, written and directed by Kevin Smith; he also co-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, Jason Mewes, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, and Alanis Morissette.

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 film is a satire of 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 a 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 Jerseymarker shore, most of the film was shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker.

Plot

An old man looks at the ocean from a New Jersey boardwalk outside a skee ball arcade. He is beaten into a coma by three hockey stick-wielding teenagers, the Stygian Triplets.

Two fallen angelsBartleby (Ben Affleck), a watcher, and Loki (Matt Damon), formerly the Angel of Death — were banished from Heaven after Bartleby convinced Loki to quit his position and find one that doesn't involve mass slaughter. This culminates in Loki giving God the finger, and both angels being exiled to Wisconsinmarker and permanently banned from Heaven. The two see their potential salvation when a church in Red Bank, New Jerseymarker, celebrates its centennial anniversary with a plenary indulgence. By passing through the doors of the church, they can have their sins forgiven and upon death regain access to Heaven. They don't realize by doing this they will overrule the word of God. Since the basis of existence is that God is infallible, proving God wrong would destroy existence.

Metatron, aka the Voice of God


Metatron (Alan Rickman), the seraph who acts as the Voice of God, appears to abortion clinic worker Bethany Sloane (Linda Fiorentino) and gives her the task of preventing Bartleby and Loki's return. Bethany is initially against the mission as she has lost her faith in God due to her infertility and subsequent divorce. Bethany is attacked by the Stygian Triplets and saved by Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), two prophets whom Metatron said would appear. She is also aided by Rufus (Chris Rock), the thirteenth apostle, left out of the Bible because he is black, and Serendipity (Salma Hayek), a Muse with writer's block turned stripper. Bethany learns that she is the Last Scion, the last descendant of Mary and Joseph, and the last relative of Jesus Christ.

On the way to New Jersey, Loki decides to kill the board of a company whose mascot is a golden calf for idolatry and various personal sins. Loki hopes to get back on God's "good side" before their return; Bartleby thinks it is unnecessary but reluctantly complies. The demon Azrael (Jason Lee), a former Muse, warns them that both the forces of Heaven and Hell are attempting to kill them (since God won't let them succeed and undo creation, and Satan won't let them succeed because by succeeding where he's failed they'll make him look bad), and that Loki's killing sprees are not helping. The two sides unwittingly meet on a train, where a drunk Bethany reveals the consequences of proving God wrong to Bartleby. When their identities are revealed, a fight ensues and Silent Bob throws Bartleby and Loki off the train.

Bartleby's restrained fury and envy of humanity's freedom drives him insane. Loki realizes the ramifications of their success and becomes reluctant to continue, but Bartleby says existence would be better off destroyed as he realizes the "unfairness" that man is shown infinite patience while the angels are exiled after one transgression. Loki says that Bartleby reminds him of Lucifer, but Bartleby tells him that they are going home, and there's nothing Loki or even God can do about it.

Elsewhere, Metatron reappears, comforting Bethany as she copes with the revelation about her heritage and the group ponders who could have orchestrated the angels' plan. Metatron explains that God went to Earth in human form to play skeeball and they are unable to contact Him/Her; apparently, someone knew enough to incapacitate God and leave God alive but unable to return to Heaven of their own will. The group deduces that Lucifer can't be behind it because he would have made his move by this point, and he has just as much to lose if Bartleby and Loki succeed as anyone else. They try to persuade Cardinal Glick to cancel the celebration, but he refuses.

When Bartleby and Loki reach the church, Bartleby goes on a killing spree. At a nearby bar, Azrael captures the heroes and explains that he is the mastermind behind the Angels' plan, wanting to destroy existence rather than spend eternity in Hell — but forced to manipulate Bartleby and Loki as demons cannot become human. Goaded to attack Azrael, Silent Bob kills him with Cardinal Glick's golf club, which is revealed to be blessed; Jay, Rufus, and Serendipity kill the Stygian Triplets by dunking their heads into sinks filled with holy water sanctified by Bethany.

The heroes reach the church before Bartleby and Loki enter. Loki, who is now human (because he had his wings torn off by Bartleby) tries to help the others, but Bartleby kills him. He then fights Rufus, Serendipity, and Bob. When all hope seems lost, Jay mentions John Doe Jersey (Bud Cort), a comatose patient in a hospital across the street who was attacked outside a skeeball arcade, and who is being kept on life support. Hoping this is God trapped in mortal form, Bethany and Bob race to the hospital. Jay foolishly shoots off Bartleby's wings with a submachine gun, turning him human.

Bethany removes the life support from God's human body, allowing Him/Her to escape — and inadvertently killing Bethany. God (Alanis Morissette) manifests at the church before Bartleby, who apologizes for his acts. God kills Bartleby with Her voice. Silent Bob shows up with Bethany's bloodstained corpse. God resurrects Bethany and conceives an heir inside her. The heavenly beings return to Heaven through the church doors.

Cast



Production

  • Before shooting, Smith warned Mewes that he needed to be prepared to work with "real actors," such as 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.
  • 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. The scene was dropped from the final cut of the film.


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.

Critics were mostly mixed to positive about the film; it has a 68 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It did better with fans, ranking 82 percent by the Rotten Tomatoes community. On Metacritic, the film received a rating of 62 percent based on 36 reviews, with an 8.4/10 by fans based on 21 votes.

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

Sequel

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

References



External links




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