Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.
Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister's wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open.
Marcello, a small and gentle dog groomer, finds himself involved in a dangerous relationship of subjugation with Simone, a former violent boxer who terrorizes the entire neighborhood. In an effort to reaffirm his dignity, Marcello will submit to an unexpected act of vengeance.
The desolate beach resort and shady characters, familiar from Gomorrah, plays back drop to the dog man, Marcello, of the title. He is played by the superb Marcello Fonte, who he is directed well in this tale of morality and dog grooming amongst the immoral.
This is not a story of co-dependence; it is a modern story of paths that cross but never synchronise. While Marcello seems to play the inferior to a bully, we learn very quickly that Marcello is not a schlemiel, but I'm wondering if some reviewers missed this. He is the little guy, but in a milieu where the little guy has a valid place.
Problems with the film appear in two areas; Fonte is simply a much better actor than those around him, and the canvas for this film starts to look too small, very quickly. We are given strange bits of wonderful cinematography, before returning to the squalid world of the dog man. This neither serves to make the film seem kooky, or more realistic. Unlike Gomorrah that held an unrelenting documentary eye, this looks like at times a tentative Trainspotting.
There is something good going on here, but it doesn't quite make it's way into a fully fledged film. It engages strongly in parts, but just like the ending, doesn't focus on one thing or the other.
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