Dogman is a 2018 Italian crime drama film directed by Matteo Garrone. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Marcello Fonte won the award for Best Actor. Inspired by real events, it was selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.
Italian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Matteo Garrone|
|Produced by||Matteo Garrone|
Paolo Del Brocco
|Screenplay by||Ugo Chiti|
|Story by||Ugo Chiti|
|Music by||Michele Braga|
|Edited by||Marco Spoletini|
|Distributed by||01 Distribution|
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Marcello is an affable dog groomer living in a deprived coastal suburb. He has a happy life. He loves his work and his business (called 'Dogman') is thriving. He has a doting daughter who he adores and a circle of male friends in the community with whom he regularly plays football. Being liked by all and sundry is important to him. However, to afford the expensive exotic holidays his daughter desires, Marcello deals small amounts of cocaine to his friends. One such friend is Simone (Simoncino), a huge and thuggish former boxer who terrorises the community with his violent bullying behaviour. Marcello is at work with his daughter when Simone bursts in and demands that Marcello give him some cocaine. Marcello begs him to leave, pointing out his young daughter's presence, but Simone ignores his pleas. Towering over Marcello, he intimidates him into acquiescence. He snorts the coke there and then, and leaves without paying.
The extent of this abusive friendship is demonstrated when, late one night, Simone finds Marcello and forces him, against his will, to partake in a robbery. Marcello drives Simone and another accomplice to the location, drops them off and waits for their return, ready to make a quick getaway. The robbery goes smoothly, but Marcello overhears the accomplice saying that he put a dog in the freezer to shut it up. Simone gives Marcello jewellery worth 150 euros, a tiny fraction of the total haul. After dropping them off, Marcello returns to the crime scene. He scales a pipe to reach the apartment that was burgled. He retrieves the dog from the freezer and runs it under the tap. The dog regains consciousness and Marcello leaves.
Simone continues to cause havoc in the community. He wrecks a fruit machine and punches a restaurant owner, breaking his nose. A small group, Marcello included, discuss whether to have him killed. While some think it a good idea, one of the group (the jeweller?) refuses to get involved, saying that someone else will eventually kill him anyway. In the end, no decision is made. Marcello is silent throughout the discussion.
Simone wants cocaine again. He finds Marcello who tells him he has none. Simone forces Marcello to get on the passenger seat of his bike and they ride to Marcello's supplier. Marcello approaches him alone and asks for some cocaine on tick. The supplier is reluctant to give it to him, making it clear that if he doesn't pay the next day there will be consequences. Simone then approaches the supplier, who goes berserk upon seeing him. He shouts at Simone, saying he has some balls being there given that he owes them thousands of Euros. He tells them both to leave. Instead of leaving, Simone violently attacks the cocaine supplier. A second man appears out of nowhere and flys at Simone with a hammer. Marcello calls out to Simone, alerting him to the danger. Simone brutally dispatches the second man and he and Marcello leave with a haul of coke.
Simone takes Marcello to a strip club where they snort coke and party with beautiful women. On leaving the club, Simone is shot twice by a man on a motorbike. Marcello, desperate to save Simone's life, puts him on his back and mounts Simone's motorbike. Marcello takes Simone to his mother's house. When Simone comes to, he is angry with Marcello for bringing him there. Marcello reminds him that he refused to be taken to a hospital. Simone then insists that Marcello try and save him. Somehow, Marcello is able to remove the bullets and save Simone. Simone's mother finds his bag of cocaine and is distraught. She tears the bag open, covering the floor with white powder. Simone hugs his mother close to his body and, while she is sobbing into his chest, gesticulates to Marcello to sweep up the cocaine from the floor.
Marcello's shop is adjacent to a jewellers owned by one of his friends. On one of his uninvited visits to Marcello's shop, Simone discovers a hollow wall separating the two businesses. Seeing an opportunity to make some quick and easy cash, he explains his plan to rob the jewellers to Marcello. Marcello begs him not to do it as he doesn't want to betray his friend. Yet again, Simone gets his way through physical intimidation. Marcello very reluctantly gives him a key to the shop, but Simone promises he will make it look like a break in. The next morning, Marcello sheepishly approaches his shop, which is surrounded by police. Simone had carried out the robbery but instead of making it look like a break in, he left evidence of entry using a key, thereby incriminating Marcello. Marcello is arrested and taken to the police station. However, the police are fully aware that Simone forced Marcello to give him the key. They give Marcello the option of signing a statement to this effect and promise him protection. Marcello refuses to name Simone and is sent to prison.
Marcello is released from prison a year later. He returns home but has become a pariah in the community. His friends have abandoned him and he must rebuild his business from scratch. Desperate for money, he tracks down Simone to demand his cut from the robbery. Predictably, Simone dismisses him. He has spent all of the money on a new motorbike for himself. Marcello, now a changed man, threatens Simone. Simone laughs at him and enters his house. Marcello picks up an iron bar and smashes up Simone's bike. He then runs away. The next day, Simone finds Marcello and beats him to a pulp.
A few days later, Marcello seeks out Simone. Incredulous, Simone grabs Marcello by the throat and pins him against the wall. Marcello waves a bag of cocaine under his nose and he releases him. Simone snorts the coke and is stunned by its quality. Marcello tells him that it's 100% pure and that he knows how to get more. He explains that he's set up a meeting with the supplier at his shop the next day and, with Simone's help, he plans to rob them. The following evening, Simone arrives at Marcello's shop. Marcello tells Simone to hide in one of the dog cages and wait for his signal. Simone is understandably reluctant to do this. Marcello threatens to call the deal off. The sound of a car engine is heard outside and finally Simone enters the cage. Marcello quickly closes the cage and padlocks it, confusing Simone. He begins taunting Simone, asking him how he feels now the tables are turned. Realising what has happened and filled with uncontrollable rage, Simone uses all his considerable force to try to escape from the cage. Eventually, he kicks the cage door open. Marcello grabs a metal bar and hits Simone over the head just as he is crawling out from the cage. Simone is then seen chained by the neck to the wall, with hands and legs tied and covered in blood. Marcello, seeing Simone struggling to breath, approaches him to check if he's OK. Suddenly, Simone traps Marcello's head under his arms and he begins to strangle him viciously. Marcello somehow manages to depress a lever on the floor which has the effect of moving the table Simone is sitting on downwards, thereby strangling him with the chain around his neck. Marcello frees himself and sees Simone's lifeless body.
Marcello loads Simone's body into the back of his van and drives to wasteland outside the town. He lays him down on the ground and lights a fire to burn him. He then makes his way back to the neighbourhood and, upon seeing his former friends playing football, shouts repeatedly to get their attention. They ignore him. He then returns to Simone, extinguishes the fire and carries the dead man's heavy and charred body to the football pitch. When he gets there, everybody has disappeared. The film ends with Marcello alone, next to the dead body, panting vigorously.
On review aggregrator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 83% based on 107 reviews, with an average rating of 7.52/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Dogman offers a grim character study set apart by Marcello Fonte's performance and director Matteo Garrone's tight grip on the material." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average of score of 71 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
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