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Rental Unit: "Dogville"

The story is about a stranger (Nicole Kidman), who comes to town in search of hiding. Encouraged by a preachy, Jimmy Stewart-ish young man named Thomas Edison Jr. (Paul Bettany), she tries to work her way into the hearts of the townspeople, who try to accept her in return. The rest of movie's almost three hours deals with the microsocietal interplay that ensues.

For some, von Trier's breakthrough success with Bj”rk, "Dancer in the Dark," was a deeply moving event. Others considered it a load of cheaply sentimental rubbish. Certain maudlin scenes were so over the top that still others became convinced he was putting us on. In "Dogville," that feeling is overwhelming.

And then there is the art-house circulation of "Dogville Confessions," a making-of documentary, reputedly less than flattering, showing an oddly behaving von Trier among his embarrassed all-star cast, which includes Chlo‰ Sevigny, Stellan Skarsgard, James Caan and Lauren Bacall. The only consistency with the director seems to be inconsistency. You just never know with this guy. Even our reaction could be part of the act. — Wayne Melton

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