- 2 hr 10 min
Dogma is a 1999 American fantasy-comedy film that was directed and written by Kevin Smith. It stars an ensemble cast including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman, and George Carlin. The story centers around the idea that God has a plan, but no one knows what it is. A group of renegade angels, Bartleby (Affleck) and Loki (Damon), was banished from Heaven and have since been living on Earth as mortals. However, they discover a loophole in Catholic doctrine that will allow them to re-enter Heaven. This loophole involves passing through a church archway in New Jersey called the "Church of the Holy Stigmata." The loophole has unintended consequences, however, as it would effectively nullify God's plan for humanity. Bethany Sloane (Fiorentino), a disillusioned and ex-Catholic abortion clinic worker, is visited by the Seraphim (Rickman) and given a mission to stop Bartleby and Loki from passing through the archway. She is joined by a group including the 13th Apostle (Rock), Rufus, the messenger of the Lord (Lee), and two prophets, Jay and Silent Bob (played by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith himself). The group embarks on a journey from Illinois to New Jersey, encountering various characters along the way, including the muse, Serendipity (Hayek), and a demon named Azrael (played by the late, great singer Alanis Morissette). Along the way, they discuss theology, religion, and faith in a way that is both hilarious and thought-provoking. Dogma features sharp dialogue, irreverent humor, and a fantastic cast of characters. The film's satire pokes fun at organized religion and the concepts of faith and dogma, but it does so in a respectful manner that never feels mean-spirited. The most remarkable aspect of the film is how it manages to balance its irreverent humor with a genuine sense of heart and warmth. Despite being a film that pokes fun at religious conventions, it never feels cynical or dismissive. The performances are all top-notch, with Affleck and Damon delivering particularly strong performances as the two angels trying to reclaim their place in Heaven. Hayek also stands out as the muse tasked with helping Bethany on her journey. But it's Fiorentino who anchors the film with her performance as the skeptical Bethany. She brings a sense of groundedness to the film's absurdity, and her journey to reconcile with her faith feels genuine and organic. Visually, Dogma is a feast for the eyes. The film's locations, particularly the church in New Jersey, are stunningly realized. The visual effects, particularly during the scenes set in Heaven, are also impressive. And the film's score, composed by Howard Shore, helps to add weight to the film's more emotional moments. While Dogma may not be for everyone, those who appreciate Kevin Smith's brand of humor will find much to enjoy here. It's a film that manages to be both irreverent and heartfelt, and its themes of faith and redemption linger long after the credits roll. Dogma is a film that's both funny and thought-provoking, a rare combination that is sure to leave an impression on those who watch it.