‘Dogman’ Review: Everyone Has a Breaking Point In Matteo Garone’s Crime Fable

Marcello (Marcello Fonte) is the Dogman. He runs a small shop that offers veterinary and dog sitting services to the populace of his small coastal town near Rome. He is well-meaning and tries to please everyone, succeeding for the most part. However one of these people is a violent criminal named Simoncino (Edoardo Pesce) who manipulates Marcello to assist him in his terrible schemes. But Simoncino is about to learn that everyone has their breaking point.
Marcello is a compelling and highly unconventional lead character. The shoveling lackey may be a side character, dispatched with little empathy. Marcello is a compassionate person, he’s talented in his work and an excellent father. He is compromised in his intentions only in his inability to betray somebody he considers a friend. He is tragically naive, recalling Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin.
Dogman is about a good man pushed too far. It’s distinct from typical revenge dramas in that it is primarily interested in exploring the fragile psyche of the victim turned avenger. His primary interest is maintaining his relationship with others, and his tentative steps towards assertion are painfully misguided. The pain of his situation as he runs out of options and faces the possibility of compromising his principles is palpable.
The choice of setting adds a haunting melancholy to the dark tale. The Characters occupy an abandoned, desolate seaside town complete with rusted overrides and a shuttered boardwalk. The Dogman storefront, with its hand-painted sign, is a little spot of hopeful positivity amidst the despair.
Cinematographer Nicolaj Brüel captures Marcello amidst overwhelming surroundings. He’s a slight figure framed around big dogs and large men. Fonte’s physicality is marvelously expressive, especially when paired with Edoardo Pesce’s effortlessly intimidating Simoncino.
Director Matteo Garrone has created another compelling from thriller made fascinating by its unusual protagonist. It’s an often agonizing but deeply sympathetic character study.
Four Stars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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