|29 march 2024
Luc Besson's Dogman is a cinematic odyssey that pushes the boundaries of conventional storytelling, offering a kaleidoscopic vision of genres and influences. The film introduces us to the enigmatic Douglas, a character embodied with unparalleled depth by Caleb Landry Jones. As we embark on this narrative journey, Luc Besson crafts a rich and complex story that unfolds over the course of a gripping police interrogation, offering the audience a privileged place in the complexities of Douglas's life.
The narrative structure is a fascinating aspect of Dogman. By setting the story in the context of a police interrogation, Besson immediately instills a sense of mystery and intrigue. The film deftly navigates between present and past, gradually revealing the different facets of Douglas' character. This non-linear approach keeps audiences on the edge of their seats, eager to piece together the puzzle of Douglas's life and the events that led him to this particular situation.
Luc Besson's prowess as a director is on full display when he effortlessly blends disparate genres into a coherent, captivating whole. At its core, Dogman is a character study that explores the psychological nuances of its protagonist. However, Luc Besson weaves in elements of black comedy, crime drama and even a touch of surrealism. This genre-defying approach adds a refreshing dynamism to the film, preventing it from fitting into any predetermined category.
The film's homage to various cinematic styles and cultural references is both a strength and a potential stumbling block. On the one hand, Besson's nods to Dickensian narrative, Shakespearean drama and classic Hollywood musicals demonstrate his love for the medium and add layers of complexity to the narrative. On the other hand, some viewers may find the abundance of references distracting, risking diluting the film's originality.
Caleb Landry Jones achieves a tour de force in the role of Douglas, anchoring the film with his magnetic presence. His performance captures the character's fragility, resilience and eccentricity, elevating Dogman beyond its genre-jumping tendencies. The chemistry between Jones and his canine teammates testifies to the film's commitment to telling an unconventional story.
Visually, Dogman is a feast for the eyes. The cinematographer [name of cinematographer] uses a wide range of techniques, from wide tracking shots to intimate close-ups, enhancing the emotional impact of each scene. The film's production design, costumes and make-up contribute to the creation of a vivid, immersive world, with each image meticulously composed to reflect the film's thematic complexity.
Dogman is a cinematic rollercoaster that demands the active engagement of its audience. Luc Besson's bold approach to storytelling, combined with Caleb Landry Jones' outstanding performance, makes for a film that is as stimulating as it is rewarding. While the abundance of references and the genre-bending nature of the story may not be to everyone's taste, those willing to embrace the unconventional will find Dogman a unique and stimulating addition to contemporary cinema.
Written and Directed by Luc Besson
Produced by Virginie Besson-Silla
Starring Caleb Landry Jones, Jojo T. Gibbs, Christopher Denham, Grace Palma
Cinematography : Colin Wandersman
Edited by Julien Rey
Music by Éric Serra
Production companies : Luc Besson Production, EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production
Distributed by Apollo Films Distribution, EuropaCorp Distribution (France), Briarcliff Entertainment (United States)
Release dates : 31 August 2023 (Venice), 27 September 2023 (France), March 29, 2024 (United States)
Running time : 114 minutes
Seen on September 2, 2023 at the Centre International de Deauville, in VO (Deauville International Center)