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Review: “Dogman” (2023)

Cross-posted from Letterboxd and Mastodon.

See, this is why you go to Sneak Preview. Most of the time it’s Bank of Dave or The Courier, but then every now and then it’s something you didn’t know existed and that hits you just right.

Sneak Preview was 2023’s Dogman.

After a brief worry that the picture would be Super Transphobic — you never know with these things, you gotta be careful — it instead turns into a glorious portrait of a beautiful, complex character, the titular Dogman, played by Caleb Landry Jones.

He’s called that, you see, because he has A Lot Of Dogs. And over those dogs he has an amount of easy control that borders on a psychic power. And that gets… a little silly sometimes? But even at its silliest — his beautiful drag performances are just voiced by real tape of the singers he’s dressed at — it manages to land as something very sincere, very beautiful.

If I have any issues with this one, it’s, well, the character uses a wheelchair, and Hollywood is often a little weird about how it depicts that. It might be a little weird here, depending on where your sensibilities lie in that regard.

The same is true for the ways in which this is queer — it might just land differently on you than it did on me, and that’s fine.

It’s also, in the end, unfortunately, forced to conform to the shape of a modern crime film — and as much as I think the climactic Dark “Home Alone”-esque violence is a hoot of a sequence, I think something lower scale might have suited the rest of the film better.

I think when this actually comes out you’re gonna see a VERY wide range of opinions. A lot of them are gonna be bad opinions. Mine might be one of those!

But by Dog, I thought that was terrific. Beautiful. Gorgeous. A masterpiece I’ll think about for a long time.

Dogman did nothing wrong. Long live Dogman. Dogman — forever.

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