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Luc Besson goes back in time: “Dogman”, the new film by the French director, is a thriller that seems to have come out of the nineties, a decade in which the transalpine author had created some of his best works, from “Nikita” to “Léon ”.
Among the most anticipated new releases of the weekend in theaters, “Dogman” has as its protagonist a boy tormented by a stormy past: suffering from a serious physical impairment, Douglas is forced to deal with a marginal existence immersed in a profound zone of shadow of social life. Due to the continuous traumas that led him to lose trust in humans, he finds comfort only in the company of his beloved dogs.
The main character of this film is thus a new outsider from Besson’s cinema, a new anti-hero marginalized perfectly in the lines of the French director’s poetics. References to the film “Joker” by Todd Phillips can be found in this feature film which also talks about masks and delves into the most disturbing corners of the human soul, even maintaining dark atmospheres that mix the imagery of the cinema of the nineties with those of some contemporary comic films. The character of “Dogman” is also the result of a certain aesthetic that may recall the killer in “The Silence of the Lambs”, but it is all that type of iconography that stands out in a film that at times also recalls the style of video clips. Despite knowing too much that has already been seen, the film manages to entertain thanks to an effective rhythm and some visual intuitions.
“Dogman” and the other films of the week
Caleb Landry Jones
Although it is the victim of several shortcomings and numerous mistakes, between a series of unsuccessful flashbacks and some overly complacent moments of brutal violence, “Dogman” is nevertheless a step forward in Besson’s recent filmography. In recent years the French director has strung together a very long series of completely forgettable products – from “Lucy” to “Anna”, passing through “Valerian and the city of a thousand planets” – and so negligible as to make one think that his talent was now completely waning. “Dogman” has good flashes, especially in the management of the synergy between the visual and sound editing: the appearances of the protagonist are well managed, as is the performance of Caleb Landry Jones. The American actor, already winner of the Palme for best actor at the Cannes for “Nitram” in 2021, he confirms himself as one of the best of his generation, especially when he is called upon to interpret particularly extreme and disturbing characters.
Among the surprises of the week, “Inu-Oh” should be highlighted, an intense Japanese animated film directed by Masaaki Yuasa. Set in medieval Japan, this feature film mixes music, theater and traditional arts, through a narrative structure that touches on various eras and various characters. If the screenplay has some moments of slight confusion, the overall design is nevertheless effective and well done, so much so that it deserves to be seen on the big screen. “Inu-Oh” could be defined as an unconventional rock-opera, capable to respect the past (a very present theme in the film) while keeping an eye on the future. You don’t see anime like this every day and the many fans of the genre absolutely cannot miss it.