(1999)3Karl WilliamsA bizarre and controversial film from writer/director Kevin Smith that's a heady mixture of indie conventions, Monty Python sensibilities, and the twisted, violent comic book Preacher. Despite such an impressive and interesting pedigree, Dogma contains a few entertaining sequences and some interesting ideas, but the parts never quite cohere into a solid whole. Smith's dialogue, while often clever, also remains frustratingly expository after so many films, and some of his characters' motivations are murky at best, both because of the director's strict adherence to plot mechanics over all other story elements. As in so many of Smith's films, the characters move from point A to point B not because they necessarily must, but because the plot requires them to. The result is a cutesy, self-aware, and artificial feel to Smith's work that quickly wears out its welcome. As one of the first and most talented of his generation of "slacker" filmmakers, Smith should move on thematically and stylistically into new territory, a move he seemed to make with Chasing Amy (1997).