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Marcello (Marcello Fonte) is a dog groomer and drug dealer.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

  • Dogman
  • Directed by: Matteo Garrone
  • Written by: Matteo Garrone, Ugo Chiti and Massimo Gaudioso
  • Starring: Marcello Fonte
  • Classification: N/A; 103 minutes

rating

3 out of 4 stars

Marcello is better at taming the dogs he grooms than he is the criminals who surround him.

Photographer: regine de lazzaris/Courtesy of Mongrel Media

In a decaying Italian seaside town, Marcello (Marcello Fonte) is a gentle dog groomer better at taming his animal clients than the criminal elements who surround him. He makes a bit extra on the side dealing drugs, and his most enthusiastic client is the vicious cokehead Simoncino (Edoardo Pesce), who bullies him into various ill-advised schemes. The naively amenable character is wonderfully observed by Fonte, and early scenes show delicious whimsy and black comedy – at great risk to himself, Marcello returns to a crime scene to rescue a chihuahua – but as the film’s numbing brutality takes hold, the character’s passivity makes the action drag in places. Finally, Marcello steps out of his underdog character to take an unlikely revenge and achieve Dogman’s shattering conclusion.

New movies in theatres this week, including Toy Story 4, a dog movie that bucks the sappy dog-film genre and Luc Besson’s spy slop Anna

Dogman opens Friday in Toronto and Montreal.

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