After the success of his debut indie feature Clerks, Kevin Smith went on to direct Mallrats and Chasing Amy to equal acclaim.
Dogma, his 1999 religious satire starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, was his move to the big league. Not a total success, it contains enough interesting ideas and outstanding performances to lift it above the ordinary.
Linda Fiorentino is Bethany Sloane, a nurse at an abortion clinic in Illinois who's suddenly accosted by Metatron (Alan Rickman), a cynical messenger from God. She's the last living descendent of Christ and therefore the only person who can stop fallen angels Bartleby and Loki (Affleck and Damon) from entering a re-dedicated church in New Jersey in a bid to return from eternal exile in Wisconsin, an act that will also precipitate the end of humanity...
To help her, two assistant prophets, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith himself) are assigned and, along the way, she meets Rufus (Chris Rock), the 13th disciple, written out of the Bible because he was black, and a helpful muse, Serendipity (Salma Hayek). But are their collective powers enough to stop Bartleby and Loki (not to mention the evil Azrael (Jason Lee)?
Even before release, the film attracted controversy. Miramax, owned by Disney, financed the film, but suddenly announced before its premiere in Cannes they would not release it and it was sold to a variety of distributors around the world. Although slightly too wordy at the expense of plot, it still contains enough good one-liners and exchanges to make it a more than enjoyable religious experience (as well as revealing that God is a Canadian woman).