Those who have seen Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark know that Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier tends to focus on issues of sacrifice and forgiveness, especially involving women. Dogville adds rage and revenge to the mix.
The tale is set during the Great Depression. A young woman with the allegorical name of Grace (Nicole Kidman, in a stunning, understated performance) is running away from some sort of trouble involving guns and gangsters. She stumbles into Dogville, Colorado, a slice of nowhere nestled in the Rocky Mountains that dead-ends at an abandoned silver mine.
Grace is befriended by Tom Edison (played with great complexity by British actor Paul Bettany), an aspiring writer who neatly avoids actual writing by assuming the role of town philosopher, organizing weekly meetings to preach morality and Christian values to the skeptical townsfolk.