Dogtooth (Kynodontas), 2009 – Movie Review


Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Christos Stergioglou, Michelle Valley, Mary Tsoni, Hristos Passalis, Anna Kalaitzidou, Aggeliki Papoulia

This review by Mike Milling.

I think I would prefer to live in a world where the female genitalia is known as a ‘keyboard’, and a pussy is a ‘big light’. A mad, nonsensical world where I could say ‘pass me the phone please’ at the dinner table and have the salt passed to me with no explanation needed. And where planes are little toys that fly through the sky and, if you are lucky enough, fall in to your garden and you get to keep them. This world sounds like fun right?

Well, it sounds fun to me (and maybe you too – or am I just weird?) because it is far removed from the norm and different from what I am used to in my ordinary life. In the lives of the three young characters in the disturbing Greek comedy-drama ‘Dogtooth’, these things are commonplace. But this is what they have been brought up to know as truth. The three young characters (ranging from late teens to early twenties) have been, since birth, locked in complete isolation in a drab, white country-house by their parents and taught to believe the outside world is a dangerous place they need never encounter. They are subjected to a warped version of an education, handed out by their parents via lessons on tape cassette – ‘A carbine’ is a beautiful white bird, zombies are little yellow flowers and cats are blood thirsty predators out to kill and destroy all humans (now this one I agree with – cats are evil shits).

The main orchestrator of this strange family experiment is the unnamed father (a chillingly dead-pan Christos Stergioglou), who is the only one ever to leave the house (often to bring back a blind-folded female co-worker from his anonymous factory to have graphic yet perfunctory sex with the only son). A man who has created a reality all of his own making for his family, despite the obvious mental ramifications this may have for his offspring.

A man locking his kids away from the outside world? That horrid old Josef Fritzl bloke you read about in the news comes to mind, right? OK, just hold your politically correct horses there for just a moment! Despite how disturbing this film is, there is nothing like THAT going on…Well…erm…There IS incest…and violent scenes of self-harm….and cat killing (yeah, boo-hoo)…hmmm…Actually, this film is pretty darn messed up.

But no! This is the kind of talk that has cloaked this film in controversy and put people off from seeing it. I urge you to look past this, because at it’s core, this film is an original, odd, genuinely funny piece of satirical cinema, and a real joy to watch, from the rather uncomfortable sexually graphic opening minutes to the mind-boggling yet minimal ending.

In summary – this film is bonkers – Watch it.

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