Marcello (Marcello Fonte) earns his living grooming dogs. But in the rundown Italian coastal town where Marcello lives, this simple occupation may not be enough to support an estranged wife and a young daughter. So Marcello occasionally sells cocaine. The great irony of director Matteo Garrone's Dogman centers on Marcello’s personality. Cocaine or no, he hardly seems a typical gangster. He's a simple, good-hearted fellow who tries to get along with everyone, including the town bully (Edoardo Pesce). Pesce's Simone becomes a kind of one-man scourge, attacking people, destroying property and generally terrorizing the town's residents. He's so much a nuisance that one of the town’s businessmen go so far as to propose that an assassin be hired. As the story unfolds, Garrone (Gomorrah) turns Marcello into an unfortunate sap whose innocence and rudimentary sense of honor only add to his troubles. Garrone’s narrative builds toward an explosive ending that leaves Marcello alone and abandoned against the decaying landscape of the town where he has tried so hard to fit in. Those familiar with Garrone's work will be tempted to read metaphorical meanings into a simple tale that takes place against a backdrop of ruined buildings. As we follow Marcello's story, hope gradually gives way to feelings of abandonment. Marcello displays sweet affection for dogs and for his daughter. Even so, Garrone refuses to see life in Italy (and perhaps beyond) through a lens tinted by optimism. In Dogman, Marcello’s love for others goes largely unrequited.