People are a little touchy when it comes to God. Whether it be Allah, Buddha, or Jesus Christ himself, religion has become the untouchable subject in America. Either he overslept or missed a memo, but apparently Kevin Smith never got that message.
Dogma dares to tackle what no other film has before, in a sarcastic and humorous look into the world of religion, God, and personal beliefs. Yet, Dogma doesn't so much attack the very nature of God and as take it out two-stepping on a hot summer night. The film follows the trail of a motley band of travelers, the prophets Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), the Scion a middle aged abortion advocate (Linda Fiorentino) and the very dead 13th Apostle Rufus (Chris Rock). All chosen by God through his Herald to stop the selfish scheme of two cast out Angels played by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
The sarcasm may seem vicious, some might say an attack on God himself. But in truth, Dogma seems to be more intent on attacking the mysticism built up around God, rather than lambasting the almighty one himself. Religion is the punch line, and humans the helpless victims of their own stupidity. Yes, right wingers are bound to be offended, but whatever your political or religious leanings, if you have any sense of humor, Dogma's intelligent and sharp edged cracks are bound to bite into your funny bone.
Perhaps the best thing that could be said is that Dogma doesn't waste your time. Smith is a director who knows what he wants to say, and gets right to saying it, from the moment the film begins, till the moment it ends. And while Dogma's actors may be lacking in believability or even tasteful delivery, Smith's script pulls them through even their most preachy and blandly stated moments. Chris Rock proves again that being a great comedian doesn't mean you can act and Smith challenges the notion that a character must have lines in order to steal the show.
Its doubtful Dogma will be very popular with the clergy, but its hard to imagine this film becoming anything but a landmark in Smith's career.
Reviewed By: Joshua Tyler