By Larry McCloskey
Dogtooth is a modern nightmare basked in glorious Greek sunshine. It stealthily slid its way out of the independent cinemas last year and onto DVD. It also found itself nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars.
The story is relatively uncomplicated. A pair of controlling parents isolates their children from the outside world and control every aspect of their lives including their vocabulary. “Zombies” are little yellow flowers and “the sea” is an armchair. The neighbourhood cat becomes an object of terror for the imprisoned offspring whilst the mother is pregnant with two children and a dog. However, with the children now adults and hormones running riot, the psychological stranglehold of the patriarch begins to weaken.
It is parenting to the extreme and reflects on the idea that all parents to some degree filter the world in order to make it easier to digest for their children. It details the faith put in parents to know what is right for their brood. As well as the dangers of parental paranoia and the damaging effect that it can have on those they thrust it upon. All of these issues are considered but that does not prevent it from creating some absurdly amusing moments and a rather brilliant Flashdance routine.
A perverse gem of a film that moves seamlessly between the darkly hilarious and horrific whilst always remaining fantastically surreal. It has been described as Luis Buñuel surrealism meeting the accurate violence of Michael Haneke which probably isn’t too far away. Dogtooth is almost definitely too weird for the members of the Academy but brilliant all the same.
Larry McCloskey is a writer for The Big Screen as well as a contributing author to A&E Playground.