Dogman (2018) from Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone focuses on a dog groomer named Marcello, played by Marcello Fonte, who won the award for best actor at Cannes for the role. Apparently based on real-life events, the story follows “Dogman” (also the name of Marcello’s business), who has a compassion and love for dogs and spends time with his young daughter, Alida, and they go scuba diving together and plan for exotic vacations he can’t afford. He’s a cocaine enthusiast as well, which comes as a surprise at first since he’s portrayed up to then as an affable innocent and seems more or less happy living a simple life. Now and then he also sits down for a drink al fresco with local business owners and low-level wise guys. The film is set in a rough and tough coastal Italian town, portrayed as dark and gloomy and the type of place where dreamers hope to leave but get mired in the ratty social fabric and local conflicts. Simone (Edoardo Pesce) is a former boxer and all-around thug who is bullying the community. As an erratic drug addict, he’ll stop at nothing to get his fix, and takes advantage of the scrawny, pliable Marcello (Dogman) to procure drugs and commit robberies. This is frustrating to watch, and goes on for at least an hour, and it’s even more trying thanks to Fonte and Pesce’s brilliant performances in the roles of bullied doormat and violent tormentor. Viciously and deliciously, vengeance is finally served in a way I’m sure Martin Scorsese would appreciate. Definitely worth a watch for Fonte’s performance alone, the film is a B+ in my mind, with cinematography that’ll leave a lasting impression.
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