Dogma (1999)

Dogma is a 1999 American adventure fantasy comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also stars in the film along with an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Bud Cort, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, Alanis Morissette, and Jason Mewes.

Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson, the stars of Smith’s debut film Clerks, have cameo roles, as do Smith regulars Scott Mosier, Dwight Ewell, Walt Flanagan, and Bryan Johnson.

The fourth film set in the View Askewniverse is a hypothetical-scenario film revolving around the Catholic Church and Catholic belief, which caused organized protests and much controversy in many countries, delaying release of the film and leading to at least two death threats against Smith. The film follows two fallen angels, Loki and Bartleby, who, through a loophole in Catholic Dogma, find a way to get back into Heaven after being cast out by God. However, as existence is founded on the principle that God is infallible, their success would prove God wrong and thus undo all creation. The last scion and two prophets are sent by the Voice of God to stop them.

Aside from some scenes filmed on the New Jersey shore, most of the film was shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.




PLOT SUMMARY

An old man standing outside a skee ball arcade in New Jersey is beaten into a coma by three hockey stick-wielding teenagers, the Stygian Triplets.

Two fallen angels, Bartleby and Loki, were banished from Heaven after an inebriated Loki, with Bartleby’s encouragement, resigned as the Angel of Death. Exiled to Wisconsin, the pair see their salvation when a church in Red Bank, New Jersey celebrates its centennial anniversary with a plenary indulgence. They can have their sins forgiven by passing through the doors of that church, and—upon death—regain access to Heaven. They fail to realize that this will overrule the word of God and destroy existence.

Metatron, the Voice of God, appears to Bethany Sloane and tasks her with preventing Bartleby and Loki’s return. Bethany resists the mission, as she lost her faith in God due to her infertility and resultant divorce. Bethany is attacked by the Stygian Triplets, but is saved by Jay and Silent Bob, two prophets whom Metatron said would appear. She is also aided by Rufus, the thirteenth apostle, and Serendipity, a Muse with writer’s block.

The demon Azrael, a former Muse, warns Bartleby and Loki that the forces of Heaven and Hell are attempting to kill them, as Satan will not let them succeed where he has failed and make him look bad. Bethany’s party unwittingly meet the angels on a train, where a drunk Bethany reveals her mission to Bartleby, who threatens to kill Bethany before a melee ensues, in which Bartleby and Loki are thrown off the train by Silent Bob.

Bartleby rants that existence would be better off destroyed as God shows man infinite patience, while angels are punished after one transgression. Loki is alarmed by the ramifications of their plan and becomes reluctant to continue, comparing Bartleby’s attitude to that of Lucifer. Bartleby orders him onwards.

Bethany learns she was chosen for the mission because she is the last relative of Jesus Christ. The group ponders who orchestrated the angels’ plan, and Metatron explains that God goes to Earth in human form every now and again to play skee ball, and has gone missing; someone knew enough to incapacitate God but leaving Him alive in a mortal form, and thus be unable to return to Heaven. The group deduces that Lucifer has as much to lose if Bartleby and Loki succeed as anyone else. Arriving at the church, they fail to persuade Cardinal Glick to cancel the celebration.

When Bartleby and Loki reach the church, Bartleby kills everyone attending the celebration. At a nearby bar, Azrael captures the heroes and explains that he is the mastermind behind the Angels’ plan; he wants to destroy existence rather than spend eternity in Hell, but he needed to manipulate Bartleby and Loki, as demons cannot become human. Silent Bob kills Azrael with Cardinal Glick’s blessed golf club. Serendipity tells Bethany to bless the sink, making the water in the sink holy; Jay, Rufus and Serendipity kill the Stygian Triplets by dunking their heads into the water.

The heroes reach the church before Bartleby and Loki enter. Loki’s wings have been torn off by Bartleby; he is now human and decides to help them. Bartleby kills Loki and fights off Rufus, Serendipity and Bob. During an attempt to seduce Bethany, Jay mentions John Doe Jersey, a comatose patient in a hospital across the street who was attacked outside a skee ball arcade and is being kept on life support. Hoping this is God, Bethany and Bob race to the hospital. Jay shoots off Bartleby’s wings with a submachine gun, turning him human.

Bethany removes the life support, allowing God to escape while inadvertently killing Bethany. In the form of a woman, God manifests at the church before a remorseful Bartleby, and kills him with the power of Her voice. Silent Bob shows up with Bethany’s blood-stained corpse. God resurrects Bethany and conceives a child inside her. The heavenly beings return to Heaven, leaving Bethany, Jay and Bob to reflect on events.

Image & Source


FILM SUBLIMINALS

Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film:

    



Dogma (1999) - Checkered Floor - Subliminal




Dogma (1999) - Poster - Eye of Horus - Subliminal




Dogma (1999) - Poster - Eye of Horus - Subliminal




Dogma (1999) - Poster - Eye of Horus - Subliminal

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First Published: Mar 1, 2012  –  Last Updated: Dec 1, 2012