Dogma

Imaginative theology and a bigger than usual budget make Kevin Smith's fourth film a kind of post-Catholic fantasy that only a comic-book enthusiast of his caliber could dream up. The plot is set in motion by two banished angels, Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck). After a few millenia in Wisconsin, they've discovered a loophole in Catholic doctrine that would allow them back into heaven--but prove the fallibility of God and destroy the universe. Unaware of the peril, they make their way to New Jersey to receive a plenary indulgence. Meanwhile, God has dispatched a seraphim (Alan Rickman) to recruit lapsed-Catholic Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) to stop the angels. She finds help in muses, prophets (Jay and Silent Bob), and the forgotten 13th apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock). Before long, all hell breaks loose (literally), and God (Alanis Morrisette) has to put in an appearance of her own. The success of the film is in the juxtaposition of Smith's trademark acerbic attitude and witty dialogue against the enormous canvas of Christian iconography and apocalyptic conflict.