A woman on the run from the mob is reluctantly accepted in a small Colorado town. In exchange, she agrees to work for them. As a search visits the town, she finds out that their support has a price. Yet her dangerous secret is never far away.
After gangster Mulligan's cars colony, fleeing northern justice, finds a hiding place in Alabama, spoiled, naive daughter Grace refuses to travel on after seeing the Manderlay cotton plantation being run under slavery rules, called Mam's law, inclusive flogging. She keeps half of dad's goons as guard to force the dying matriarch-owner's heirs, which she shamelessly dispossesses and reduces to 'staff', to taste destitution under absurd, gun-imposed contracts. The 'slaves' are made free partners, supposed to vote for progress after lessons from Grace. But almost all her democracy-pupils prove fickle, dumb and selfish, except old Willem. Her and their ignorance in Southern planting and crafty Dixie ways means more problems are created then solved. By the time dad returns to pick her up or abandon her for good, she's the one who has learned and changed the most. Written by
In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, James Caan stated he did not reprise his role as Grace's father from Dogville (2003), because Nicole Kidman dropped out, and because he feels Lars von Trier "is very anti-American, so screw him. I'm very pro-America. I'm a conservative, basically." See more »
It was in the year of 1933, when Grace and her father were heading southward with their army of gangsters.
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I was expecting something very inferior to Dogville, which is, but i forgot that it did not need to be as good to be great. Again, one or another person (many of them not very bright) will say that it's only anti-American crap, but, again, it's more, way more than that: a brutal critic to the idealism which recognizes no national barriers and can be applied to any ideology, without any exception that i know; Communism/Socialism and Christianism specially comes to my mind; Grace could be seen as the socialist leader who brings the Marxism and releases the workers (the slaves) from oppression of the bourgeoisie (Mam and her family), or the priest with the word of God to the savages (again the slaves), and punishing the sinners (Mam and her family one more time). The weak point is that aesthetically is not close to be as interesting as his previous film, and i think that Trier knew it and so the style is not so important here. Bryce Dallas Howard delivers a great performance, and does not try to imitate Nicole Kidman, but create her own vision of the character, like they were 2 sides of the same person. In my opinion, this one is only edged by Dogville in Von Trier's career.
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