TIFF Review: 'Dogman' Is Too Dark to Find Redemption Directed by Matteo Garrone
Starring Marcello Fonte, Edoardo Pesce, Munzia Schiano
Published Sep 06, 2018If Breaking Bad breakout character Gale Boetticher — the mild-mannered, poetry-reciting, coffee-brewing eccentric who is also an excellent meth cook — got his own film, it would probably look something like Dogman.
Starring Marcello Fonte as Marcello, a mild-mannered dog groomer whose sterling reputation amongst his neighbours is bolstered by his status as a cocaine dealer, Dogman charts Marcello's descent into madness as a result of his relationship with Simone (Edoardo Pesce), a brutish ex-boxer who terrorizes the town with his imposing demeanour, short temper and propensity for petty crime.
Fonte delivers an impressive performance as Marcello, imbuing the character with an impish likeability, with a heartbreakingly sympathetic turn as he struggles to assert himself as Simone's demands intensify. But as the film settles into a tragically predictable pattern, it all feels too relentlessly dark, too painfully inevitable, with no commentary or moral to balance it out.
By the time there's any modicum of payoff appears, the film has exhausted any feeling of relief that would traditionally appear. Though compelling down to the final moments, it's an ultimately exhausting final act. There are plenty of fantastic character moments courtesy of its leads, particularly Fonte, but much like its characters, Dogman treads too far down its dark path to find redemption.