(director/writer: Luc Besson; cinematographer: Colin Wandersman; editor: Julian Rey; music: Eric Serra; cast: Caleb Landry Jones (Douglas Munrow), Jojo T. Gibbs (Dr. Evelyn Decker), Christopher Denham (Ackerman), Clemens Schick (Mike Munrow), Alexander Settineri (Richard Munrow), John Charles Aguilar (Ed Verdugo), Lincoln Powell (Doug Munrow as a teen); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Steve Rabineau, Virginia Besson-Silla; Ondamax Films; 2023-France-in English and Spanish, with English subtitles)

“It’s a superficial film, that’s nevertheless entertaining, well-crafted and well-acted.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An odd, macabre, uncategorizable, character driven, revenge thriller by the unconventional French Filmmaker Luc Besson (“Lucy”/”The Fifth Element”). It has a lot of dog in it, but hardly any bite.

In Newark, New Jersey, the wheel-chair bound Doug Munrow (Caleb Landry Jones), known as the “DogMan,” is questioned by police psychologist Dr. Evelyn Decker (Jojo T Gibbs) after being arrested in Marilyn Monroe drag gear and smeared with blood, while driving a van filled with stray dogs he just freed from a shelter.

Decker’s questioning reveals in Doug’s childhood, in the backwoods south, his abusive father (Clemens Schick) and Bible-thumping brother (Alexander Settineri) kept him in a dog kennel, and he received a critical gunshot injury from dad when trying to escape that made him crippled. He spent his teen years (Doug in flashback played by Lincoln Powell), in a children’s home, where a kind drama teacher (Grace Palma) turned him onto Shakespeare.

Leaving the children’s home, Doug works at a dog pound, where he trains the mutts to be attack dogs and break into upscale house’s to steal jewelry. Week-ends he does a drag show playing the likes of Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich.

He must try and elude an insurance investigator (Christopher Denham) and a local gangster (John Charles Aguilar).

It’s a superficial film, that’s nevertheless entertaining, well-crafted and well-acted.

It played at the Venice Film Festival.