Caleb Landry-Jones in Luc Besson’s wild crime drama – The Hollywood Reporter

No animals were harmed in the making of Luc Besson’s blockbuster new thriller, Dogmanbut many people are being attacked, bitten, robbed and attacked, and at least one man has been put into the grip of a dangerous vice by a well-trained dog.

However, the director’s first film since his 2019 hit The Killer, I, It is actually one of his least violent films to date when it comes to bullets and dead bodies on screen. If there is violence, it’s mostly of the domestic and psychological kind, in a story that follows a young man whose childhood trauma transforms him into an unusual kind of superhero: a crippled vigilante in drag, who performs incredible lip-synching to classical European music. In folktales, he rules a fierce little army of obedient puppies, as if the Joker and Ace Ventura were somehow merged into one. He also lives in New Jersey.


bottom line

Luke lets the dogs out.

place: Venice Film Festival (Competition)
ejaculate: Caleb Landry Jones, JoJo T Gibbs, Christopher Denham, Clemence Schick, John Charles Aguilar, Grace Palma
Director, screenwriter: Luke Besson

1 hour and 54 minutes

It’s tough to handle and also silly, but Besson often pulls it off – thanks in large part to a solid performance by the chameleon-like Caleb Landry-Jones (Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), which manages to be poignant and a bit terrifying at the same time. It holds a film that is too offbeat to achieve mainstream success taken And Transporter franchises, which helped turn Besson’s EuropeCorp into a major international studio a few decades ago. However, as a kind of personal artistic statement – where Shakespeare meets Marlene Dietrich, and killer hounds meet drag queens – Dogman worth a look.

Besson began his career as one of the budding bad boys of French cinema in the 1980s, and was part of a generation (along with Jean-Jacques Benix and Jean-Jacques Annaud) that critics disparagingly described as “the look of cinema”. With his gifted eye for still scenes and his unique approach to directing action and thriller films, including casting women in the lead roles, he made his English-language debut in 1994 with the film Leon Professional. This and his previous film No femme Nikitait remains arguably his best work to date – unless you prefer the flashy, overblown gimmicks of sci-fi blockbusters like The fifth element And Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (The latter remains the most expensive French production in history, and was also a flop when it came out in 2017.)

And in 2018, Besson was accused of raping actress Sand Van Roy (who had a role in the film). Valerian), but was acquitted of all charges by a French judge last June. He has also been accused of sexual misconduct by former employees of EuropaCorp, as well as by two students from the now-defunct film school outside Paris, although none have filed formal charges. This may partly explain why the normally busy director has been absent from the scene over the past few years, and why DogmanThe film’s inclusion in the main competition in Venice—Bison’s first at a major film festival—created controversy.

What is certain is that the film presents us with a different side of the director compared to what we have seen over the past 40 years: one that is more tender and tragic, even if Dogman It contains some of the intense violence for which he is known, and is steeped in an aesthetic that was permanently settled somewhere between the 1990s and early 2000s. (The film was shot by cinematographer Colin Wandersman, with production design by Hughes Tessander, who has worked with Besson since.) The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.)

A ’90s-era framing device is used to tell the story of Douglas (Jones), whom we first meet when he’s caught disguised as Marilyn Monroe and driving a getaway van loaded with angry dogs. While interviewing a criminal psychiatrist (Jojo T. Gibbs) while in prison, Douglas decides to tell the story of his long and horrific life–which is shown through flashbacks, beginning with being severely abused by his father, Mike (Clemence Schick), and brother of Jesus. The Stranger (Alexander Cetineri) is in what feels like the Deep South, even though the movie is set near Newark, New Jersey.

Mike trains dogs to fight for a living, and when Doug talks to him one day at the dinner table, he locks his son in the kennel with them. Months later, young Douglas was shot with a hunting rifle, paralyzing him from the waist down. Thus begins Doug’s long and painful transformation into Dogman – a social outcast with oboe-like power over the canines he cares for, and trains to carry out robberies of wealthy homes throughout the neighborhood, among other things.

Another transformation for Doug involves his encounter with a young actress and drama coach, Selma (Grace Palma), who takes him into the Shakespeare productions she performs at the boys’ home where he ends up as a teenager. Selma Dog learns how performing and disguising can help him overcome the abuse he suffered as a child, leading him to take the stage after years as a drag queen.

If that sounds silly, comical, or downright puerile, perhaps insulting – in addition to playing drag scenes, Jones also plays someone who can’t walk – it doesn’t come out that way, mostly because the actor is so committed to such a challenging and insane role (Something his specialty), it’s hard to look away. Jones’ standout sequence is, by far, the moment he appears in drag for the first time, portraying French singer Edith Piaf lip-synching to her song “La Foule”, in a performance that bestows Marion Cotillard (who won an Academy Award for the film in which she plays Piaf). Life Rosary) They ran to get her money.

Who would have thought that Besson would deliver one of the best drag scenes in recent memory? And one in a movie where there’s also a scene of a Doberman chomping the ringleader’s testicles?

The director gives himself free rein here, finding a way to include a subplot with little cameo Barry Lyndon Star Marissa Berenson. And while the score isn’t exactly sophisticated—a label never applied to Besson’s work—there’s something honest about the way he depicts Doug’s profound, Christ-like suffering, including some heavy symbolism at the end.

That’s not to say that Besson completely strays from the kind of sloppy action he’s known for, especially in a closing scene where he literally lets the dogs out big time when Doug’s hideout is ambushed by gangsters. (It’s cut to shots of the dogs doing a lot of things they shouldn’t be doing, though they’re still really cute while doing it.) But as a serious portrait of a loathed and loathed character, it nonetheless manages thanks to its extraordinary talents. , Dogman If you get past all the blood, mascara, and barking, this might be the closest thing a director has come to writing an autobiography.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button