Dubbed an “urban Western,” Dogman unfolds on the periphery. Set amid the decaying streets and lurid nightclubs of an Italian suburb, the film investigates a brutal criminal world and a toxic relationship between Marcello (Marcello Fonte), a gentle dog groomer, and Simone (Edoardo Pesce), a violent former boxer who terrorises the entire neighbourhood.
Dogman marks filmmaker Matteo Garrone’s return to naturalistic Italian filmmaking, following his English-language fantasy Tale of Tales (2015), and evokes the mood of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s neorealist films (Accattone, Mamma Roma). The plot draws on the details of an horrific 1988 murder which took place in Rome without exploiting or sensationalising those events. Instead, Dogman revolves around Marcello Fonte’s soulful, Cannes award-winning portrayal of a beleaguered man’s effort to reassert his dignity by submitting to a shocking act of vengeance.