Venice #80 - DogMan
Written & Directed by Scooby Doo
And so even Venice now has its own Dogman…
The film in question pales in comparison with its Cannes 2018 namesake, directed by Matteo Garrone. And please, I beg you, never get these movies confused, or else you may regret it indefinitely: beware of the (wrong) DogMan.
We’re now very far from the times of Luc Besson’s The Professional or Nikita. Caleb Landry Jones stars in his latest misdeed (perhaps the heaviest of his crimes to date), and he’s pretty much the only decent element in this offence to cinema. He plays Doug, a handicapped canine lover in what is effectively an origin story of a superhero villain in drag.
All the elements for a cheap 80’s porno are in place, but instead what we get is a Poundland Joker - an acid cocktail of St Francis, the Punisher, and Karl Marx. A parade of obscene stereotypes flows over the silver screen: a clear sign of a worn-out director who has to rely on cheap, outdated comedy to hope for a grin from an exhausted audience. Despite its two hours of nonsense, there are some highlights of squalor that I believe should be listed:
In a drag club, there’s a poorly lipsynced and sped-up rendition of an Edith Piaf classic (full length). The silver medal goes to a rip-off Home Alone sequence, starring our furry friends and some Hispanic gangsters falling naïvely into their traps. But the number one spot must go to a Disney-inspired scene where Doug is baking a cake and all his dogs cheerfully help him - passing him every ingredient. Dogatoullie. Wow. Competing for the Golden Lion in Venice’s 80th edition.
This was Besson’s first time at the oldest film festival in the world- I can only hope it’s his last visit too.
I have a lovely dog, Tuco, and I bet he has far better taste.