Wow. I just watched Dogville, and I'm still stunned.
I don't want to spoil it for you, because you should see this movie with no preconceptions. Any commentary I added would color your experience. Don't go reading other reviews on the web, either. One thing the critics do get right is that it's too long. So watch it as I did, in two or three sittings. You'll enjoy it more.
Go watch it and then let's talk about it.
STOP READING NOW UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN IT -- THEN HIGHLIGHT THE TEXT BELOW FOR MORE OF MY THOUGHTS.
The bare set is original and effective. The whole film is done on a black stage with buildings and streets marked by white chalk outlines, with very few props. It sounds lame, but it's not.
The story and the direction are brutal and misanthropic and feel anti-American, coming from an admitted Ameriphobic European director. Ebert & Roeper, in fact, savaged this movie for being pointlessly anti-American, even though as sophisticated (liberal) big-city critics, they should be comfortable with anti-Americanism. Ebert and Roeper, though, see the movie too narrowly. It's not about America. It's about human nature and the vicious pack instinct.
Nicole Kidman plays a fugitive persecuted by those who she hoped would protect her. The religious overtones are palpable, and the parallels between Kidman and Christ are obvious. The ending, which I won't spoil even for those who ignored the warning not to read ahead, is both appropriate and satisfying.