Italy. It’s not only the country of amazing pasta, pizza and vino but also of gangsters, mobs and violence.
With his latest work, Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Reality) leaves all the cheery and happy elements from Italy behind and focuses on the dark and shady underground life Napels has to offer.
Dogman is certainly not as violent as Garrone’s previous movie, Gomorrah, but it’s still one hell of a powerhouse movie.
The film hadn’t even begun and we were already drawn to the screen thanks to the powerful opening scene, which looked incredibly promising.
At first, you might think “where are the secretive and dark elements of this movie?” because, in the foreground, the story seems kind of innocent.
It’s about Marcello, Marcello Fonte (Donkey Flies, The Intruder) who runs his own dog trimming shop, separated from his wife and his daughter.
So far, it seems as per any other movie about work and family. However, Marcello has one tiny secret. He might be a dog trimmer by day but he’s a drug dealer by night.
One of his regular clients, Simone, Edoardo Pesce (Eurotrapped, Fortunata), keeps coming back for more but becomes uncontrollably violent to both Marcello and the other residents when he doesn’t get his next fix.
Because of that, feuds between the three parties are rising until the point that everyone wants Simone out of the way. Their wish might be granted when one of his burglaries goes wrong in Marcello’s shop.
Sadly, the police can’t find the hard evidence against Simone. Instead, Marcello is being sent to jail, partly because of all the evidence that leads to him, but also because he doesn’t deny the allegations despite the fact he clearly knows who needs to be brought to justice.
While Marcello is imprisoned, the town turns against him because of his denial against Simone and, when he’s released, the people want him gone as well.
Will they succeed in their actions or will Marcello have the chance to redeem himself?
Yesterday it was announced that Dogman landed a UK deal with Curzon Artificial Eye and we totally understand why. First of all it’s probably because of the very fascinating story.
It starts off as a very easy-going one about a dog trimmer who shares a love for dogs with his daughter. Nothing out of the ordinary so far.
However, the story really gets darker and certainly more intriguing when the elements of drugs, violence and murder are introduced.
Despite the huge amount of fight scenes in Dogman, it never becomes one of those movies in which the story is being pushed into the background and in which the violence are put on display.
There are even also some funny elements to the movie. Especially when Marcello is treating his dogs like his family. The combination between the captivating storylines and the entertainment is perfectly well balanced.
During the closing ceremony of the Film Festival of Cannes 2018, Fonte was awarded with the prize for Best Actor and, right after the screening of Dogman, we knew he would be one of the forerunners for this award.
Fonte puts on an incredible performance as Marcello, who at first site might seem an innocent family man with an average job.
However, when you take a closer look, the naïve man turns into a well-known drug dealer who isn’t afraid to fight for his right. A cuddly poodle turning into a teeth baring bulldog.
With his rough and colossal posture, Pesce was perfectly cast as Simone and gives an outstanding portrayal as the intimidating and terrifying giant whose life is all about drugs, sex and violence and who terrorises the entire neighbourhood.
In the supporting roles we see Adamo Dionisi (Suburra: la serie, Ugly Nasty People), Francesco Acquaroli (Solo, I Can Quit Whenever I Want: Ad Honorem) and Alida Baldari Calabria (Guarda in alto).
With a dark and sinister story, the cinematography has to follow that pattern as well. Under the very watchful eye from Nicolai Brüel, a superb cinematography is created. Dark colours, dimmed lights, violence, speedy scenes and very remote areas fit Dogman amazingly well.
We were already able to watch this movie during the Film Festival of Cannes and fingers crossed Dogman will hit the UK theatres soon. A compelling film like this with jaw dropping performances, immensely captivating and a shady, threatening and secretive cinematography can’t be released soon enough.