Director: Lars Von Trier
Screenwriter: Lars von Trier

Because of all the combined weirdness of Lars von Trier's twisted morality tale, Dogville, it's hard to tell what the director's playing at. Is this an experiement in staging? An attack on the Christian doctrine of "turn the other cheek"? You don't quite realize until the final moments.

Over the course of the film, a woman named Grace (Nicole Kidman) is used and abused by the inhabitants of a small Middle-American town named Dogville. What at first feels like a place of freedom and opportunity is revealed to be the opposite. Kidman's character is raped and imprisoned by the mob that is Dogville's inhabitants. But, as it turns out, Grace's father is a member of the real mob, and in the final scene, she orders him to wipe out the town. Daddy does.

And then Lars von Trier lets the credits roll on photos of poor and broken Americans while David Bowie's "Young Americans" plays, a sarcastic rejoinder to the images. Got it. He's talking about America. Good joke. —RS