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Dogma (1999, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon)

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After the success of his debut indie feature Clerks, Kevin Smith went on to direct Mallrats and Chasing Amy to equal acclaim. Dogma was his move to the big league and, if not a total success, contains enough interesting ideas and outstanding performances to lift it above the ordinary.

Linda Fiorentino is Bethany, a nurse at an abortion clinic in Illinois who’s suddenly accosted by Metatron (Alan Rickman), a cynical messenger from God. She’s the last living descendent of Christ and therefore the only person who can stop fallen angels Bartleby and Loki (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) from entering a re-dedicated church in New Jersey in a bid to return from eternal exile in Wisconsin, an act which will also precipitate the end of humanity…

To help her, two assistant prophets, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith himself, both characters ‘refugees’ from his previous films) are assigned and, along the way, she meets Rufus (Chris Rock), the 13th disciple, written out of the Bible because he was black, and a helpful muse, Serendipity (Salma Hayek), but are their collective powers enough to stop Bartleby and Loki (not to mention the evil Azrael (Jason Lee))?

Even before release, the film attracted controversy. Miramax, owned by Disney, financed the film, but suddenly announced before its premiere in Cannes they would not release it and it was sold to a variety of distributors around the world. Although slightly too wordy at the expense of plot, it still contains enough good one-liners and exchanges to make it a more than enjoyable religious experience (as well as revealing that God is a Canadian woman!)

production details
USA | 130 minutes | 1999

Director: Kevin Smith
Script: Kevin Smith, Gabbie Asher,

cast
Ben Affleck as Bartleby
Matt Damon as Loki
Linda Fiorentino as Bethany Sloane
Jason Mewes as Jay
Chris Rock as Rufus
Alan Rickman as Metatron
Jason Lee as Azrael
Salma Hayek as Serendipity
Kevin Smith as Silent Bob
Alanis Morissette as God
Bud Cort as John Doe Jersey
George Carlin as Cardinal Ignatius Glick
Brian O’Halloran as Grant Hicks
Janeane Garofalo as Liz
Walt Flanagan as Protestor #2
Scott Mosier as Smooching Seaman
Dwight Ewell as Kane
Nancy Bach as Mrs. Reynolds
Barret Hackney as Stygian Triplet
Jared Pfennigwerth as Stygian Triplet
Kitao Sakurai as Stygian Triplet
Betty Aberlin as Nun
Jeff Anderson as Gun Salesman
Mark Joy as Whitland
Nancy Mosser as Governor Dalton
Guinevere Turner as Bus Station Attendant

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