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Dogma

Director: Kevin Smith


Kick-starting his career with a loose trilogy – Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy – perhaps lulled Kevin Smith’s audience into a false sense of security. He seemed to be mapping out his own alternative universe, with downtown New Jersey acting as a drop-out ghetto where amiably jaded youth gathered in grocery stores, shopping malls and (when they got older) rundown bars and diners.
Dogma, however, is another world altogether. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck star as Loki and Bartleby, two fallen angels trying to get back to paradise. The portal, they claim, just happens to be under the the archway of a cathedral in – where else? – New Jersey. But if they do, the whole of history and manking will be undone. To stop them, the angel Metatron (Alan Rickman) appears before lapsed Catholic Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) in her bedroom, appoints her the saviour of the world and tells her of the dire consequences if she fails to divert them. Let me know if you need anything else, she replies.
Although the film proved a source of unease in the States, Smith is bewildered by suggestions that Dogma is in any way sacrilegious. Predominantly, what I’ve always done is relationship movies, and this is a farce and a fantasy about the relationship with God. But no one can mistake it for any sort of tome or a text.
Instead, Smith sees it as a light-hearted attempt to represent the headache-inducing theological questions that swirl around everyone’s head at some time or another. It started with me asking some questions about my own faith. he says, but the flick doesn’t attempt to hold out answers to any of those questions. It’s meant to make you laugh.

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