Dogman is a 2018 Italian drama starring Marcello Fonte and Edoardo Pesce. It was directed and co-written by Matteo Garrone, Based on a True Story.
Marcello (Fonte) is a small, humble, good-natured dog groomer who gets along with everyone in the neighborhood. He spends his time grooming dogs, playing soccer, doting on his daughter and selling cocaine on the side. The local bully Simone (Pesce) occasionally comes around to demand that Fonte give him some cocaine or participate in some petty robbery, for which Marcello is rarely compensated. The locals are all tired of being abused by Simone, but Marcello is too hesitant to take any side. As the feud escalates, however, Marcello is unwittingly drawn into dire circumstances.
- Based on a True Story: The plot is based on the life of Pietro De Negri, known as "Er Canaro."
- The Bully: Simone is the terror of the whole neighborhood. Like many bullies, he has a superficial friendship with one of his victims, Marcello, who allows himself to be used and abused out of hopes of not angering him further.
- Disposing of a Body: Marcello tries to light one on fire, but changes his mind and decides, in his madness, to try to show the neighborhood what he's done.
- The Dog Bites Back: The locals discuss whether or not they should hire some out-of-towners to murder Simone to stop his bullying campaign. Also, the Dogman himself finally bites back and murders Simone.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Simone, the local bully. People treat him like a member of the community because it will go worse for them if they don't, but everyone hates him and he beats people up anyway.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- Marcello is introduced patiently grooming a vicious dog while whispering pleasantries to it, showing that he's a good guy who really does love dogs. The scene reflects how Marcello hopes to deal with Simone: being friendly in spite of the dog's aggression to make it more docile.
- Simone is introduced demanding cocaine, which Marcello gives him on the condition that he snort it somewhere far from Marcello's daughter. Simone ignores him and immediately starts snorting it right there.
- Extreme Doormat: Marcello just cannot stand up for himself in virtually any circumstance. But ultimately, The Dog Bites Back.
- The Farmer and the Viper: In spite of the fact that Simone's death would solve a lot of Marcello's problems, he won't take a side on the discussion of whether to have the bully killed. In one night, Marcello can't help but save Simone's life twice. The next time we see them together, Simone abuses Marcello worse than ever before.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: In real life, Pietro De Negri was a cocaine addict who got so hopped up on coke that he claims he spent seven hours torturing and mutilating his former bully, though forensics believe that he probably imagined a lot of what he remembers. In the film, Marcello only wants an apology and murders his bully on accident.
- No Ending: The film ends with Marcello sitting in the neighborhood playground beside Simone's body. We don't know whether what will happen when people start seeing what he's done, whether he'll go to prison, how the neighborhood will react, and so forth.
- Pet the Dog: Literally. Marcello goes back to a crime scene to rescue a dog trapped in a freezer, showing that he's a decent guy at heart.
- Sanity Slippage: Marcello goes a little nuts when he traps Simone in the dog cage. He starts snorting large quantities of cocaine and gets manic. Once he's disposing of Simone's body, he apparently starts hallucinating the locals playing a game of soccer and starts trying to show them what he's done, but they've vanished by the time he returns.
- Spoiler Cover: The poster on this page shows the final scene in the movie.
- Too Dumb to Live: When trapped in a cage, Simone alternates between demanding to be let go and threatening to kill Marcello. Not exactly giving him a lot of incentive.
- Visual Title Drop: Marcello's dog grooming business is called "Dogman," which probably sounds a bit more elegant in Italy.