So, last week I was looking for something to watch and came across DOGMA. It had been awhile since I had seen it, but I was instantly reminded why this is one of my favorite movies, and probably my favorite Kevin Smith film.
I feel like DOGMA shows him at his best. The film deals with religion in a way that, to this day, hasn’t been done or at least not done as well. Smith uses his irreverent humor, along with well thought out monologues, to explore faith and what it means to people. The movie is centered around Bethany played by Linda Fiorentino, a woman who has lost her faith but is recruited by an angel to stop the end of the world. Even with grand subject matter, Smith still manages to craft intimate conversations between the characters. The cast, of course, enriches that.
The late Alan Rickman gives one of his best performances as the Angel Metatron a seemingly surly messenger, but one who eventually shows that he genuinely cares about people. Chris Rock portrays the 13th apostle Rufus, and his character is there to provide commentary on the racial hypocrisy of religion. Rock delivers his lines as if he wrote them himself and I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith had written the role specifically for him. Salma Hayek plays the Muse Serendipity who, in a clever bit of irony, can inspire others but not herself. Of course, we have Jason Mewes as Jay and Kevin Smith as Silent Bob, given the title of prophets and portrayed as flawed but ultimately good people. It was really interesting to see them that way, instead of the usual stoner degenerates they are in Smith’s other films. Bartelby (Ben Affleck) and Loki (Matt Damon) are two renegade angels trying to get back into heaven. They both give a great performance, notably in their introduction. You are instantly taken by their chemistry. This was filmed shortly after Good Will Hunting, and you can see them giving just as passionate performances here. Jason Lee finds himself in the role Azrael. He was so good as the villain here that it got him the role as Syndrome in The Incredibles. There’s a bunch of cameos in the film including Janeane Garofalo and the Late George Carlin, along with some of the usual Smith alumni, such as Jeff Anderson and Brian O’Halloran. DOGMA is definitely a movie I never get tired of seeing. Not only is it one of Smith’s funniest films, but also one of his smartest.
DOGMA is available on DVD and Blu-Ray, though the Special Editions thereof are out of print and can be quite expensive.