After the fantasy experiments of Tale of Tales, Matteo Garrone makes a more modest comeback through a small, rusty and decrepit door for a dark film that takes the pulse of contemporary Italy in a new way. With a family and intimate dimension, his drama Dogman movie, probes in a place generally ignored, and behind facades that do not encourage insistence, poverty, weakness and the infernal spiral of submission.
Dogman movie critic
The portrait of Marcello and his relationship with dogs makes up a very relevant exhibition: it is in his work, and in connection with beings devoid of language that this vulnerable and clumsy little man, almost simple-minded, manages to find ways to fulfillment. The animal world imposes an understanding of silence, even a solitude apart from the din of human society which befits the protagonist perfectly. The opening scene of Dogman movie, close-up on a fierce barking mastiff, thus sounds above all like a false lead: Marcello is gifted with a language that others ignore, and the tenderness in his work is a fragile solar response to the universe. sordid in which he vegetates. It is not for nothing that the ideal exchange with his daughter is scuba diving: it is, again, a harmonious exchange with the world that is freed from language.
The osmosis between this figure and the staging is the film’s great success: often suffocating, over-framed in these cramped interiors (the living room, the nightclub, the broken-in apartment, even in the freezer), the gaze captures, in chiaroscuro, the secret of a glance and the rare bursts of benevolence. The magnificent photo captures these contrasts with talent, and the interloped hours of loneliness, especially a few early mornings at two opposite moments of the drama.
For the drama to emerge, of course, the need is to make Marcello interact with the outside world. Garronne thus puts in his paws another form of animal life, that of a thick brute who will make him a painkiller and prove, if need be, that animals seem the only ones worthy of real empathy. The dark film convention is therefore a little more obvious, and the developments of the scenario lose what the film had installed in atmosphere, graphic or psychological. Voluntary submission is taken to extremes, and it is questionable whether it was necessary to go that far. The writing thus steals a lot of subtleties, highlighting the characters as well as the motifs, especially in the final closed door which loops the structure in a way that is a little too scholarly.
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There remains this epilogue which knows how to give back its part to silence, in a terrible cry of loneliness launched at this portion of town in the process of advanced decrepitude. In this abandoned fairground setting, where nothing has ever really turned out, the tragic line is eloquent. In this beautiful part given to the image, the accuracy and precision of a look, Dogman movie manages to compensate for the weight of a narrative that is intended to be too explicit.