The Corner

Dogville: An Anti-Gospel

I saw the new movie Dogville last night. Nicole Kidman plays the significantly named Grace, a woman with a mysterious past who is harbored by the residents of a small town named Dogville. The bare, alienating sets—featuring chalk outlines for streets and houses—make clear from the outset that we’re in the realm of allegory. But in the last of the film’s three hours, director Lars von Trier shows that what he has been setting up all along is not the conventional Christ-figure story, but an amazing theological thought-experiment: What if the Christ-figure, finally, says no? One of the most frequent criticisms of Mel Gibson’s Passion is that it is rich in detail but short on meaning and reflection. Dogville focuses on the nature of sin and justice, on what we’re left with if there is no redemption—and thus offers an answer to those who want to understand, more explicitly, the theological meaning of the events described in The Passion. Dogville is an unpleasant, severe, and disturbing picture of the fallen human condition. Its allegorical depiction of the God of the Hebrew Scriptures, as embodying justice as opposed to mercy, is traditional but not accurate; this is a profound film nonetheless. There are very few people who will like this film, and I’m certainly not making a blanket recommendation of it; but its achievement is real.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More