Dogman – Review
by Alba Lopes Da Silva
Matteo Garrone’s new film Dogman is a raw and gripping human drama, charged with a feeling of intense helplessness. Years after the immense success of Gomorra, Garrone returns to his favourite thematic: the intrusion of criminality into the everyday life of many Italians. The Italian director manages to subtly balance a grotesque depiction of the protagonists’ incredulous humanity (or monstrosity) with a realistic portrayal of crime and violence.
In a deprived and underprivileged suburban area of Rome, Marcello (Marcello Fonte), a timid and well-liked dog groomer but also a drug dealer, is subjected to the sudden outbursts, the physical violence as well as the emotional blackmail of Simone (Edoardo Pesce), a local cocaine-addicted delinquent who terrorises the neighbourhood. Soon enough, Marcello’s life takes on a nightmarish turn as Simone leads him on a path that is not his – a path of a vicious degeneration. As such, Marcello is quickly and brutally confronted to the reality of treason and vengeance. The focus of the movie is pointed towards a terrifying depiction of human relations constructed around the eternal law of the strongest that is echoed throughout the movie by the aggressive barking of the caged dogs.
Indeed the movie heavily relies on an animalistic and dog-like metaphor that the viewer recognises in the portrayal of Marcello’s and Simone’s personalities. Bestiality, frailty and the consequences of one’s choices are all intertwined in order to create a tension that will not fail to go under one’s skin and that is only finally released in an explosion of raw violence.
With Dogman, Garrone presents us with a dark and radically suffocating movie that will capture the viewer into an uneasy and uncomfortable grip. It is a brilliant film with incredible acting that never relies on sensationalism to showcase its sadistically fascinating and revolting narrative.