Panorama | Focus on Italy
Matteo Garrone returns to the criminal milieu of Gomorrah with this spellbinding look at slight, sympathetic dog groomer Marcello (Marcello Fonte), whose minor sideline as a cocaine dealer allows him to dote on his daughter, Alida (Alida Baldari Calabria), and take the occasional vacation with her. But Marcello’s moonlighting has created a monster in the form of coke-addict thug Simone (Edoardo Pesce), a wired, psychotic bully who intimidates Marcello into participating in his crimes. One thing leads to another and, inexorably, to greater criminal misdeeds—and tragedy. Tense, tough and thoroughly grounded in its seedy suburban Neapolitan locations, this is Garrone in peak form. He is helped immeasurably by Fonte, whose everyman persona, with its perfect blend of innocence, humanity and hidden fortitude, makes us care about the fate of this marginal figure caught up in a malevolent and uncaring world.
"Fonte is magnetically expressive in the lead role, capturing the character’s odd mixture of skittishness and—yes—doggedness, with the latter eventually drowning out the former as the stakes grow armrest-grippingly high… As with all of Garrone’s films, its odd, self-enclosed world and the idiosyncratic types that populate it are vividly and affectionately sketched… Dogman unfolds its relatively straightforward story with both thrilling style and serious moral force: it’s a sensation judged on either bark or bite."—Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
Best Actor, Cannes 18