DOGMAN

Director: Matteo Garrone

Cast: Marcello Fonte (Marcello)

Edoardo Pesce (Simone)

Dogman is a striking new thriller from Italian director Matteo Garrone.

Marcello lives in his shabby dog kennel and grooming service in a small, impoverished seaside Italian town where the residents tend to take the law into their own hands when they aren't breaking it themselves. His closest acquaintance, apart from his beloved daughter whose custody he splits with his more prosperous ex-wife, is Simone, a drug-addicted former boxer who now specializes in breaking and entering and whose unstable temper has a violent default setting. Marcello can only keep Simone pacified by feeding him cocaine and soothing him, but when Marcello takes the rap for Simone's robbery of the pawn shop next door and stiffs him for his share of the loot, Marcello decides that it's time to rid himself of the inconvenience that Simone's life presents.

 

The surprises in this masterful suspense thriller (inspired by the so-called Canario ("dog-keeper") murder case of the 1980s) are artfully subtle. They arise from the interplay of the soundtrack and the image; this is one of the few films where these two elements could be said to be of equal importance.

 

Fonte's performance is worthy of the award for Best Actor that it won at the Cannes Film Festival. His appearance, short and slender, recalls a young Dustin Hoffman - it's as if Ratso Rizzo lost his tuberculosis and his cynicism and gained a sense of responsibility, but couldn't quite shake off his seedy lifestyle.

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