le 4 mai 2011
De ce film, vous tirerez le message que vous voudrez. Pour ma part, je l'ai pris comme une critique des cultes, des religions telles que je les ressens, des dogmes et autres règles base de l'histoire.
Une série de personnages tous plus loufoques, des dialogues hilarants, des idées scénaristique à foison, un film culte dans ma vidéothèque.
Seul petit reproche, quelques longueurs sur la fin.
Dogma, from the Greek word meaning opinion. Imagine that!
According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, `The original meaning of the word was "that which seems good", and hence it was applied by classical authors as a technical term either to the distinctive tenets of the various philosophical schools or to the decrees of public authorities.'
So, what does this have to do with the movie? Ironic as it seems for such a bizarre film, it all turns on a minor dogmatic point -- accepting that Roman Catholic dogma is the operative framework for the entire existence of the universe (something even I have yet to meet ANYONE who holds true), a logical inconsistency would render the universe inoperative, and thus it would blink out of existence.
--The Fallen Angels--
Enter the fallen angels. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon star as Bartleby and Loki, the angels who rebelled against God (not in the major, Satan-ic way, but in rather more minor work-stoppage way). They have been banned from heaven, and spend most of their time watching cartoons and hanging out in airports people-watching.
--The Dogmatic Hat-Trick--
In an attempt to 'update and popularise' Catholicism, a bishop in New Jersey (George Carlin, of all people) introduces a new campaign that includes a papal indulgence, which will absolve those who walk through the archway of a particular church. The angels discover this, and are determined to exploit this papal pronouncement to their benefit -- in dogmatic terms, whatever the pope says on earth is binding in heaven (not quite, but that's what the movie presents) -- and thus God cannot refuse them re-entry. This sets up the logical problem.
--The Last Scion--
The heavens charge a particular woman Bethany, (Linda Fiorentino), who turns out to be the last descendent of Jesus Christ's family (of course, the Bible left out the details of his family), with stopping the angels from reaching the church. In the course of her charge, she encounters the Voice of God (Alan Rickman) who appears as a flaming, burning-bush type of phenomenon, and promptly uses a fire-extinguisher to put out the flames.
--The Hellish Plot--
Azrael (Jason Lee), a minor leader of demons, has command of agents to try to stop the Last Scion from stopping the angels. Why? Well, I cannot tell you. This would give away too much of the film. But, suffice it to say, the forces of evil seem to want the angels to prove God wrong (or, at least some of the forces of evil want this). By the way, I am inclined to agree with this demon on at least one point -- central air conditioning is one of the greatest things in creation!
Yes, this being a View Askew production, we could hardly do without a visit from the guys from Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob, who turn out to be the Prophets (actually, perhaps it is spelled 'profits'). Unlikely prophets (as, in fact, most prophets are), but basically good at heart.
Rufus (Chris Rock), the thirteenth apostle (also left out of the Bible, because of his race) appears to the Last Scion and the Prophets to help them in their quest.
--The Golden Calf--
Loki and Bartelby stop for a moment to pay a visit on a Disney-esque corporation for one last fling as vengeance and destruction angels. The icon of this corporation is a Golden Cow (or Calf), and their crime is encouraging the worshipping of false idols. Hmmmm... Perhaps not all of this movie is so off base.
'You people don't celebrate your religion, you mourn it', she says. Serendipity, once a concept, is now personified (in the actress of Salma Hayek), and joins the quest. She is the one who realises that the bishop's golf club, because it is blessed, is thus holy, and can be used against a demon (another piece of dogmatic finery - hmmm, perhaps I should bless my tennis racket!).
Bartleby, who had normally been the voice of reason against Loki's brash fire-and-brimstone approach (well, he was the Angel of Death, after all), becomes upset at the efforts being used to stop them, and turns into a Satan-esque figure bent on opposing God.
But, where is God? We find out that God is missing (something that many in many religions can relate to much of the time, alas), only to discover that God likes to take the occasional holiday. The angels and the choirs of heaven are worried that Bartleby and Loki will succeed in destroying the universe while God is away from his(her) desk.
Oh, ye of little faith. God in the end, in the form of Alanis Morrisette, does show up to save the day, in more ways than one.
--The Priestly Commentary--
Lots of people were very offended at this film (just as some might be offended by this writing!). It does poke fun (scathing, caustic wit is more like it, in truth) at religion in general, Christianity in specific, and the Roman Catholic church in particular. As a priest, I thought there were some questionable scenes and would have preferred a little less foul language; but overall, I thought the premise and the storyline were creative and inventive. I'm quite surprised, actually, that it became a controversy -- I would never use this film for a catechism class, but my fellow seminarians and I had quite productive discussions talking about the topics brought up in the film.
Beware of the language and a few offensive scenes. But make a list of theological questions. See how many theological points that weren't in Charleton Heston films you don't know! We can have a productive discussion later.
le 13 mai 2003
Il s'avère important de commencer une critique d'un film mettant en scène Jay and Silent Bob par les précautions d'usage. Mettez votre esprit rigoureux et logique dans une poche, votre conception de la politesse et du civisme dans l'autre et laissez-vous aller, n'ayez en tête aucune envie particulière qui pourrait vous distraire une seconde ou deux de l'écran. Fixez-le, ne le lâchez plus du regard. Laissez pénétrer l'humour potache, laissez votre cerveau s'imprégner de cet horrible amas de gros mots, parfois tellement inintelligibles que votre culture générale en prend un sérieux coup, de silences qui oscillent entre effets de cirque et démonstrations de mimiques expressives plus ou moins intenses. Jay and Silent Bob sont de retour, bousculés dans leur oisiveté par des producteurs sévèrement critiques et des internautes qui font tout concurrencer l'incroyable post-adolescent hyperactif.
Dogma n'est pas le meilleur de Kevin Smith loin s'en faut mais il aura au moins la grâce d'ouvrir les yeux des spectateurs européens sur ce génial auteur-réalisateur. Humour potache, sens de la polémique qui pousse les plus rigides à l'apoplexie, ce film a eu son lot de désagréments mais surtout la chance de voir les rangs des fans gonfler.