Dogman Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

As usual, on Thursday, another launch of new films took place in cinemas, among which you can find the new film by Luc Besson “Dogman”. This dramatic thriller was included in the main competition program at last year’s Venice Film Festival and received a mostly negative reception with mixed reviews from critics. In the review below we tell you exactly where the inconsistency manifests itself and what hit the film of the French director is stubbornly compared to.


outstanding performance from Caleb Landry Jones; an interesting dialogue line between the main character and the psychiatrist; trying to tell a dark story like Joker; it looks an order of magnitude better than Besson’s previous work “Anna”


Besson relied specifically on drama, but this aspect is prevented from fully revealing itself by local absurdity; Apart from the main character, there is no one else to look at here, since the other characters are not at all interesting; The heist storyline is stupid

“Dogman” / Dogman

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Action
Directed by Luc Besson
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, JoJo T. Gibbs, Christopher Denham, Clemence Schick, Grace Palma, Marisa Berenson
Premiere cinemas
Year of release 2023
IMDb website

It was a rainy summer night. The red taillights of the van glided beautifully across the wet asphalt of the highway. It poured like buckets. A police officer stopped the vehicle and asked the driver for his license and documents for the car. But the driver was not just another tired traveler, but a much more extravagant personality – a suspicious and slightly rumpled man in the image of Marilyn Monroe. In addition to other oddities, police found a large pack of dogs inside the van. The suspicious driver is detained.

Right in the middle of the same restless night in the house of psychiatrist Evelyn, the phone rings. A woman is called to work to talk to a detained young man in a wheelchair, because law enforcement officers do not know what to do with him. Arriving at the cell, Evelyn learns all the details of the life of her surprisingly talkative interlocutor, Douglas, in particular about his tragic childhood, unrequited love and a surprisingly strong connection with dogs.

Luc Besson, that tireless purveyor of whimsical stories, be they about lonely hearts, dangerous model-looking women or, much less often, journeys into fantasy worlds of Hollywood proportions, is once again introducing the world to cinema of very controversial qualities. His “Dogman” seems to be pretending to be a gloomy pseudo-movie comic about yet another marginalized person and blatant social inequality. Essentially, this is an origin story about a hero with certain physical disabilities and artistic (super) abilities, doomed to rejection by a cruel world and continuous suffering. We saw it, we know.

It’s not for nothing that the film is compared to Todd Phillips’ “Joker” by all and sundry. However, these comparisons look clearly complimentary to Besson’s brainchild and sound too loud.

Despite the obvious similarities of the characters, Dogman does not have the narrative coherence of its predecessor, inspired by the works of Scorsese. The script here is purely Bessonian, merciless and strange. And the Frenchman, as you know, has not been in his best shape for a long time. It is a priori impossible to take screen absurdity completely seriously. And then, as luck would have it, Caleb Landry Jones gives a performance so confident and insightful that you have to see it just for his sake.

Already from the debut flashbacks, it’s not easy to come to terms with one-dimensional degenerate rednecks, but it’s quite possible. To a mournful soundtrack, they put the child in a cage with the dogs, and everything seems so hopeless that even a wolf howls. And God be with them, with the rednecks; Thanks to the same Besson, this is not the first time in French cinema that someone has been put on a chain; let us remember, for example, “Danny the Chained Dog” by Louis Leterrier.

The trouble is that this exaggerated suffering is diluted, for example, by the counterpoint of the cheerful Eurythmics, a rudimentary segment about a robbery, and an almost cartoonish climax ripped off somewhere from a Christmas classic with Macaulay Culkin. Just add doggies.

Besson’s new film can be mistaken for sheer bad taste, although it is only partially so. It is much more difficult to grasp what is truly worth attention. First and foremost, again, is the presence of Caleb Landry Jones, equally stunning as a drag queen impersonating Edith Piaf or Marlene Dietrich, or as a modest guy confessing to a police psychiatrist.

In addition, a full awareness of whose film is now in front of your eyes will help reduce the level of cringe in your blood. The dialogue scenes between Doug and the psychiatrist are quite interesting. The striking image of “Marilyn Monroe with a shotgun at the ready” is saved for dessert. There’s even a Milo.

The film should only be watched if you are prepared. Besides, the dogs will read Shakespeare, and the police, of course, will eat their donuts (what else). That the bandits will be catastrophically helpless, but this doesn’t even matter, because the local plot is hardly suitable for an action movie: all the action fits into the trailer. In the end, I repeat, we must understand that this is the project of the late Luc Besson, with all the ensuing consequences.

As a result, the film resembles its unstable protagonist. At first glance, it is bright and dark at the same time, and sometimes really fascinating. But once you take a closer look, it becomes noticeable that this whole Bessonian dramatic construction is as fragile as Dogman himself. It seems that in just a moment everything will finally fall to the ground, and bouts of uncontrollable hysterical laughter, like Arthur Fleck’s, will seize the viewer.


“Dogman” is extremely far from the most outstanding examples of cinema from Luc Besson of the 90s, but is much better than the director’s previous work “Annu”, which did not produce an expressive genre film, but there was a place for Russian actors in the frame

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