Larry’s review published on Letterboxd:
This one is a tough review to write for me.
The movie had a very unique sense of style considering I knew WHAT exactly was going on and what they were trying to tell me, but I was equally confused as to WHY.
The message here seems to be pretty clear. In today's society, the world outside our homes is becoming more and more dangerous and unexplainable. This has caused this new generation of parents to be extra precautious when it comes to what they want their kid to be exposed to. The film exposes the dangers of home schooling and sheltering when its taken to a reclusive rather than open minded level. While the stunted emotional, mental, and sexual growth from homeschooling is on full display here through the dysfunctional teens, the film also plays with the idea that its sometimes better for kids to distance themselves from a parents ridiculous code of ethics or ungodly standards. You have to grow up sometime. In some rare cases you have to do the growing up yourself, because some parents may never want to let go of their baby.
Now, this may seem like a good theme and definitely makes you think of all the little "white lies" parents tell their children and how it has tremendous repercussions in a child's developmental cycle. In the film, an outsider lets the children believe that licking (sometimes erotically) is a form of payment or favor, and they soon start to replicate this around the house because they are extremely impressionable and don't know any better. Since they have no idea of the outside world, their dreams, which offer an escape for some people, are just mundane things like swimming in a pool. They have no movies, video games, music or experiences to fill the spaces of their subconscious. They are empty man children who still fight over toys despite being in their late teens. Their distorted views on their burgeoning sexuality is probably the one thing here that completely transcends the realm of the surreal. We don't want to see what they do with each other. Its painful. We wonder why its in here in the first place. But then you think that maybe this does happen in homes like this, and you are sickened even further. The idea of what happens behind a family's closed door is a truly frightening thought sometimes.
The directors vision for this movie is a neo-surrealistic version of a home movie. Often characters exchange dialogue to characters who are off screen, or have the tops of their heads off screen. Why? Who knows. Maybe it represents the siblings distorted view on interaction and human behavior. The film contains a few good shots and is edited in a way to make you feel like a member of the odd family. Always right up in the action. Sometimes a little TOO close...
Essentially, Dogtooth is unlike any movie I've seen in a long ass time. I am just as willing to say its great as I am to say its not for everyone and there is a chance you wont enjoy it. But I recommend going into it with patience and an inquisitive and open mind. Its like a slow moving nightmare in which you cant wake up and you are slave to all the horrors it has to show you.