Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
A gentle dog groomer makes the perilous mistake of thinking he can pacify the town psycho as readily as a snarling mutt in this darkly flamboyant Cannes Competition crime thriller from the director of Gomorrah.
“Though it has far less outright violence than Gomorrah, whose oppressive criminal atmosphere it shares, Matteo Garrone’s Dogman is just as intense a viewing experience, one that will have audiences gripping their armrests with its frighteningly real portrayal of a good man tempted by the devil. Once again set in the Camorra-ridden hinterlands around Naples, the new film pours the various threads running through the Italian director's work into a boiling cauldron of poverty, ignorance and self-interest….
Here the conflict is reduced to its barest existential essentials: a good man who loves dogs and grooms them for a living is tempted by a demonic, half-crazed brute to steal… Superb performances by Marcello Fonte as a mild-mannered dog groomer and a crazed Edoardo Pesce as his fatal attraction poise the film midway between the realistic criminal world and a symbolic, universal dimension.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
“Instead of simply returning to the comfortable well that yielded his best notices, Garrone looks at the seed of violence through another lens; not the pervasive malignancy of mafia corruption, but rather an unsettling, malevolent individual perpetrating his own brand of terror. A hyper-realistic urban tragedy Dogman is ferocious and in its own way, much more frightening than Gomorrah.” — Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist