Film - Dogma

Dogma

Steve Taylor-Bryant has some highly charged thoughts as he remembers Dogma, one of his Desert Island picks...

I love Kevin Smith! There I've said it out loud. His giggly, schoolboy humour is taken up a level from fart jokes in school in the ViewAskew Universe and I can see why some are offended by Jay and Silent Bob, but I just can't help but laugh out loud. Amongst the brilliance is the star studded Dogma, my comedy film choice for if I was stuck on a desert island but had a solar powered DVD/TV combo.

An abortion clinic worker with a special heritage, two unlikely prophets and Rufus, an unknown 13th Apostle are called upon by Metatron, the voice of God and God's Personal Assistant, to stop two angels, that were cast out of heaven, from knowingly erasing all of God's work by restoring their souls by entering a church celebrating it jubilee (meaning= a church that has been open for a hundred years or more). Forgiveness of ones soul by passing through an Archway of a Church that is celebrating its Jubilee is a part of the Catholic Dogma. The Angels could be forgiven their transgression (wipe the slate clean). This would prove God wrong(fallible vs. infallible). To prove God wrong, would negate existence.

Upon its release I quickly tired of the religious nonsense spouted in the media. What's wrong with people? A Catholic makes a film with as many positive messages as negative ones about Catholicism and the world goes nuts! What happened to just enjoying a film? Did it really matter that God was Alanis Morrisette? Was it the choice of pop star or the fact God was portrayed as a woman that offended you? Can’t a person just do something nice, have a dance and a handstand and stop to smell the flowers? Do we really have to go into the delicate race waters of a black apostle or can we not just agree that Chris Rock was a really funny dude having a great time? You were offended by the violence of Bartleby and Loki? What the Angels that carried out God's wrath? Have you even read the bible? It's full of death and violence, I love it. Why can't we just enjoy the journey they took and the good old fashioned vengeance they unleashed on a world that probably deserves it? Who wouldn't want to dive into a large corporation’s board room and swiftly bring them down? Hello big banks I'm on my way...

I was a practising Christian until my mid twenties and the above is just me poking fun at those that went uber nuts when the film came out. I have no problem with religion, I have friends and family that rely on their faith to get through a day sometimes and who am I to judge them just because I turned my back on it? Kevin Smith poked fun, knew he'd be controversial, but made the film anyway because it was funny and funny is what he does best. If it wasn't about religion and race and women there would have been no problem and I think too many people take the film far too seriously. I mean, if you want an intellectual debate about a fiction film let's have one but, when you start on about black apostles and women as God being wrong, I'm probably going to have to get Bartelby and Loki to pay you a visit.

Dogma

Once you can see past your bigotry and actually watch the film for what it is, you'll see is a fine comedy with an astonishing cast producing fantastic fictional laughs. Alan Rickman as the voice of God is stunning and, whilst I've always been a fan, I don't remember laughing with and at him as much in another film. Jason Mewes and Smith himself as Silent Bob do what they always do and that's the schoolyard humour, the fart jokes brought on a generation to include some cruder language and tone but essentially still a fart joke. Chris Rock has never been funnier, there's a Shit Demon, Jason Lee as Azrael is as dependable as ever on the humour front and Selma Hayek as Serendipity is a really great piece of casting. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on screen together is always a joy to behold and I'll watch paint dry if they were the decorators but it is the sadly missed George Carlin as Cardinal Glick that just pips main character Bethany, Linda Fiorentino, for best performance. Carlin as the man who wants to reinvent religion for the modern and more youthful generation which causes the loophole in catholic dogma in the first place is a masterclass in comedic timing and performance. Carlin captures the screen and keeps it until it begs for mercy it is sad knowing we will never see him in such a performance again and I really don't think we will ever get anyone close to rivalling him for delivery.

Yes the humour isn't for everyone, I get that slapstick, sex filled anecdotes can put some people off a film and if we were discussing Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back I'd leave you be, honest I would, but the performances in Dogma are so stupendous that I urge you to give it a go. Stop taking life so seriously, the world is never getting any better, you know that right? And let some humour into your existence before you eventually have to meet your own maker, who I wouldn't mind looking like Alanis one bit.


Image - IMDb.