DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Director - Matteo Garrone - 2018

"Filthy genius movie"
Who's the real animal? Italian film is a spectacular tale of revenge and a catharsis of bestial impulses, as a dog groomer exacts revenge on a friend with his very own hands


In most Muslim nations, calling someone a “dog” is one of the worst insults conceivable. Even in the West, calling a female a “bitch” is far from a compliment. But are our canine friends such horrible creatures? The Italian film Dogman is loosely inspired in the real story of a coked dog groomer who imprisoned a man in a dog cage and tortured him for ages in 1980s. So perhaps it’s us humans who are barking mad, and far more bestial than out furry companions.

In some unnamed and extremely impoverished coastal town in the South of Italy, Marcello (Marcello Fonte) runs a small dog grooming business aptly named Dogman. He is also a part time coke dealer. He befriends a Neanderthal thug called Antonio (Edoardo Pesce). Together they engage in a life of petty crimes and nights out. They seem to complement each other in s very strange way: Marcello is puny, ugly, calm and with a squeaky voice, while Simone is bulky, considerably better-looking, extremely irascible and with a hoarse voice.

Marcello is a very morally ambiguous character, and at first it’s difficult to understand his psychologically. He has a very kind and sweet side, particularly when he’s with his daughter or with dogs. He handles his clients – a bulldog, a dalmatian, a chihuahua, a poodle and many more – with uttermost care and affection. He returns to scene of robbery upon finding out that one of his associates put a chihuahua in the freezer, in one of the film’s most moving moments (well, at least for a chihuahua owner, like me). Somehow, he manages to reconcile his pure and humane side with his dark and hedonistic adventures with Antonio. One thing is certain: Marcello’s most human side emerges when he’s in the company of animals.

It’s unclear what sustains Marcello and Simone’s friendship. It seems like the frail and diminutive Marcello is strangely fascinated and infatuated with the manly Simone (the bromance type of infatuation). Simone finds it extremely easy to manipulate Marcello with the currency he handles best: violence. Marcello is willing to take the blame for a robbery in order to spare Simone from incarceration. After a one-year stint in prison, however, something clicks inside Marcello, and his fascination morphs into anger and a very twisted type of revenge. He finds a very unorthodox way of asserting his masculinity and exhibiting it to town.

The crumbling buildings, the collapsed walls and the broken pavements partially covered in sand from the beach provide the perfect backdrop for Marcello’s broken masculinity. The photography is nothing short of spectacular. In the final 10 minutes, Marcello parades through town at dawn with his newly-found trophy. The greyish skies gradually turn baby blue sky, reflecting Marcello’s state-of-mind. He’s elated by his very own demeanour. Plus, he’s in the company of man’s best friend. These images will stay with you for a long time.

Dogman is showing in the competition of the 71st Cannes Film Festival taking place right now. This is not an underdog, and there’s a significant chance that the film could snatch a treat or two. But could it fetch the Palme d’Or?

"Filthy genius movie"

By Victor Fraga - 17-05-2018

By Victor Fraga - 17-05-2018

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 years of involvement i...

DMovies Poll

Should smoking in cinema be banned?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

The world is blithely unaware of the coup [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Perhaps no other 20th century artist has captured [Read More...]
Thousands of reviews, opinion pieces, YouTube videos, blog [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
The British and the French have joined efforts! [Read More...]

Read More

Tilting at windmills in Paris


Ian Schultz - 23-05-2018

Ian Schultz explains why THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE is Terry Gilliam's best film since BRAZIL, and that it was worth crossing the Channel overnight and by bus in order to watch it! [Read More...]

This is Congo

Daniel McCabe

Victor Fraga - 23-05-2018

Nearly 60 years after its independence, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is still grappling with the most basic foundations of democracy, particularly on the Eastern border with Rwanda - doc is in cinemas Friday, May 25th [Read More...]


Ben Howling/ Yolanda Ramke

Charlie Jones - 22-05-2018

This "psychological" zombie movie has an interesting premise as well as underlying racial commentary, while steering clear of blood and gore; sadly it also lacks bite - exclusively on Netflix [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *