The lead performance, from the mostly unknown Fonte, is a small symphony of crumbling ingratiation: the portrait of a good man trying to cling to his principles in the face of stubborn, selfish immorality.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Subtle as a great dane, and less convincing than a show poodle that’s trying to pretend she’s an untamed stray, Dogman is an obvious and strained little movie.
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.
Garrone’s prowess as a director is still undeniable, and as far as nasty, gripping brutality goes, Dogman certainly delivers. If you’re looking for pulpy violence, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t expend too much thought over what it’s all supposed to mean.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about a hugely impressive exercise in directorial control is the fact that we come away from an intensely violent film, a film where bones crunch and blood smells, touched by pathos and a strange sense of hope.
Involving and well made, rather than something flat-out great and essential.
Fonte, it must be said, gives an expert performance as a saintly scamp who “blooms” into a butterfly of vengeance. I might have bought what he’s doing in a different film, but the one that Garrone has made strains too hard to have it both ways.
A movie with incomparable bite and strength.
Newcomer Fonte is terrific in the lead role, communicating Marcello’s meek protests with a twitchy physicality that grows slowly into a sketchy defiance.
Dogman unfolds its relatively straightforward story with both thrilling style and serious moral force: it’s a sensation judged on either bark or bite.