“Dogtooth” embodies a winning Oscar film. The entire film screams originality, the performances are striking, and there is a style that devours the production as a whole. The question coming out of the film, however, is if it will catch on with the Academy?

Since Best Foreign Language Film is like Best Picture, you have to look at the complete work to determine whether it deserves to win. My biggest challenge discussing “Dogtooth” is that I have yet to see any of the other nominees and cannot compare it to the others. That aside, “Dogtooth” will be hard to beat.

There is a mood set by director Giorgos Lanthimos that is so off kilter, that I am pressed to say I have ever seen anything like this film before. There are films that scare you, films that make you laugh, and films that make you feel so awkward that you want to leave the room, but usually a film is either one or the other, or at different times, several of these. Never have I experienced a film that makes you feel all of these simultaneously throughout the entirety of the film. Creating the kind of mood that Lanthimos creates in “Dogtooth” deserves recognition. I cannot be the only one that feels this way.

Though the acting in the film appears simple, with the dead-faced stares and anticlimactic speech, imagine how hard it must have been for the actors playing the teens to keep a straight face through some of the ridiculous things that they had to endure. There are no smiles in the film so either the editing team was crafty or the performers were simply that engrained in their parts. Either way, both suggest a solid work.

The film is getting mixed reviews. Many people do not understand the film, while others take it for more than it is and resent it. The film has connotations of the backlash of home schooling or an insight into the extremes of parental discipline. Many discussions have arose in forums discussing these very matters. Even the likes of Roger Ebert discusses these topics in his review of the film. But all that matters on Oscar night is what the Academy decides and it is hard to tell if this film will catch on like it did for me.


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