Denmark 2003, 178 min.

director.gif (905 bytes) Lars Von Trier


Nicole Kidman - Grace
Paul Bettany - Tom Edison

Stellan Skarsgård - Chuck

Patricia Clarkson - Vera
Lauren Bacall - Ma Ginger
Chloe Sevigny - Liz Henson
Ben Gazarra - Jack McKay
James Caan - The Big Man


Cannes Film Festival - May 19, 2003


Dogville is a small, isolated community in the Rocky Mountains. It’s the mid-1930s, an era of great social change, but for the residents of the village, time continues to stand still. Life in the close-knit outpost is disturbed by the arrival of a fugitive called Grace (Kidman), who needs sanctuary from her vicious gangster father (Caan). Paul Bettany plays the unofficial mayor named Tom Edison, a philosopher whose condescending idealism was formed in the vacuum of a town that has an Elm Street even though "no elm had ever cast its shadow" there. Philip Baker Hall is his father, a retired doctor and  hypochondriac; Lauren Bacall is the shopkeeper who tends gooseberry bushes; Ben Gazzara is a blind man who feigns sight; Stellan Skarsgard is a gruff apple-grower married to Patricia Clarkson, mother of seven; Chloe Sevigny is the town sex symbol; and Zeljko Ivanek is the truck driver who is their only link to elsewhere. They exist in stasis, their ignorance and prejudice about each other and the outside world unchallenged by evidence to the contrary.


The film was shot in six weeks in 2002 on high-definition video in a studio in Trollhättan, Sweden. While on locaton, all the actors lived in a Swedish country manor in Ronnum on Vargön (Wolf Island).



"Kidman, shown much of the time in extreme close-up and stripped of scenery to get in the way, turns in one of her finest performances. Of the large menagerie of co-stars, Gazzara and Oscar nominee Patricia Clarkson as Vera, a brooding mother, stand out. Also, Stellan Skarsgård is superb as an apple grower who's rotten to the core."   ...San Antonio Experess-News

"Our ability to see through the walls while the cast cannot leaves an unpleasant desire to get involved and as fabricated as the film feels, it is hard not to be captivated. Support from Stellan Skarsgård, Lauren Bacall and James Caan does nothing but strengthen this feeling – all are on top form.

"There are some haunting, startlingly raw moments in Dogville, which also features excellent performances from Bettany, Stellan Skarsgård, Patricia Clarkson and Lauren Bacall."

"Von Trier has gathered a remarkable assembly of acting talent for this, including Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Philip Baker Hall, Patricia Clarkson, Paul Bettany and Stellan Skarsgård, and he gets very strong performances from all of them"   ...Guardian Unlimited

"Kidman, always good, balances vulnerability with a strength that keeps her survival. The other international cast of Udo Kier, Patricia Clarkson, Philip Baker Hall and Stellan Skarsgård perform just as well with all their nasty relish."    ...Cinema Eye

"As infuriating as von Trier can be, he knows how to be provocative... The cast is amazing, with everyone giving a strong (if somewhat mannered) performance. In addition to Kidman, who is superlative as Grace, there's Paul Bettany as the ineffectual Tom, Stellan Skarsgård as the first man to take advantage of Grace's position, Chloë Sevigny as the town's lone sex object (before Grace's arrival), and the legendary Lauren Bacall as a fatalistic femme. ...Film critic James Berardinelli

"In small roles in Dogville, Lauren Bacall, James Caan, Ben Gazzara, Chloe Sevigny, Patricia Clarkson and Stellan Skarsgård each make distinct, devastating impressions."  ...Rolling Stone

"Nicole Kidman is excellent and the part makes clever use of her oft-criticised 'cold, ice-queen' quality. The rest of the (frankly, mouth-watering) cast are exactly as good as you'd expect them to be, with Patricia Clarkson and Stellan Skarsgård as the stand-outs."

"The less-featured characters all have their moments as well, including a scarily good performance by Patricia Clarskon.., an earnest turn by the aforementioned Ben Gazzara, and a brutal portrayal by Stellan Skarsgård as a fellow 'outsider' who long ago became insitutionalized by Dogville."   ...Awards Speculation

"The supporting cast includes such talents as Ben Gazzara, Lauren Bacall and James Caan, and a particularly menacing performance from Stellan Skarsgård."    ...Three Monkeys Online

"Skarsgård is also brilliant, bringing much depth to an otherwise small character."  ...Movie Source