Here's our monthly round-up for all the best films and TV out this October
Italian director Matteo Garrone returns with an astute emotional rollercoaster about dogs, drugs and dodgy friends
If your skin’s been a bit thickened by all the soulless action blockbusters lately, do your inner-self a favour and go see director Matteo Garrone’s latest film, Dogman which, put simply, is just going to make you feel things. The titular Dogman is Marcello—a dog groomer in rural Italy, able to tame angry beasts twice his size. He’s also an adoring father and a small-time coke dealer. He’s an amicable fella who’s well-liked by his buddies and customers alike. Unfortunately, one of his more boisterous “friends” has been getting him into a lot of trouble lately…
Marcello Fonte, who plays Marcello, is sublime; his ocean-deep eyes relay everything from immense love to earth-shattering sadness, and his almost caricatural, Peter Lorre-like face is unforgettable. His infantile simplicity and intrinsic goodness make you care for him with a passion, despite his many moments of weakness, cowardliness or even vengefulness.
Dogman fluidly alternates between disarming sweetness and white-knuckle brutality, which makes it a bittersweet and layered watch that could’ve been so oversimplified in a different director’s hands. Watch out for a scene involving a break-in, a chihuahua and a freezer that’ll absolutely floor you (in the best sense possible, rest assured).
Drama: The Wife
In this very serious, very intellectual, steely monochrome drama, Mr and Mrs Castleman travel to Stockholm where he’s due to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can tell that something’s off though. Beneath their seemingly tranquil, tender relationship, there’s stifled resentment and a patchy history that threatens to disturb their blissful domestic life. As you’d expect, both Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce are superb, yet even their thoughtful performances can’t redeem this film’s uninspired, heavy-handed storytelling and plot twists so predictable that their final reveal is near-comical. If nuanced, heavy-hearted drama is what you’re after, turn to Michael Haneke instead.
Documentary: The Gospel According to André
A delightful window into the life of prolific fashion editor, André Leon Talley, whose larger-than-life charisma, beaming eloquence and endlessly entertaining fashion commentaries will sweep you off your feet. It’s a luxurious pleasure to spend time in his company but be warned: you’ll be itching to go on a rampant shopping spree afterwards.
Sport: Skate Kitchen
Camille skates alone. She’s light and free—an image of serenity, until she falls, injures herself, and is forced to limp to the hospital. Her mother bans her from skating and so—of course—it becomes more irresistible to her than ever before. She soon runs away to New York to join a girl-only skateboarding collective and embarks on a journey that’ll will teach her about friendship, feminism and the burdens of womanhood. Ethereal cinematography combines with dynamite dialogue to echo that teenage sense of being at once inside and outside of yourself.
By Mike McCahill
Berlin Station (More4; 4od)
What is it? Ten-part drama picking up where Homeland left off in Europe—with the hunt for a CIA whistleblower.
Why should I watch it? Here’s one of the growing number of shows rounding up useful, underemployed players —among them Spooks graduate Richard Armitage, Rhys Ifans and Richard Jenkins—to negotiate altogether more nuanced dramas.
Best episode? Episodes 9 and 10, overseen by indie director Joshua Marston, bring the show’s carefully marshalled tension to an explosive head.
Hang-ups (Channel 4; 4od)
What is it? Savvy, funny Brit translation of former Friend Lisa Kudrow’s online series Web Therapy, centred on a shrink attempting to resolve his own issues—personal, professional, technological—during working hours.
Why should I watch it? Firstly, it looks like nothing else on TV: everything’s shot as viewed from a mobile or laptop screen, replicating our Skype and Facetime encounters. Yet top-class character actors flesh out this gimmick, phoning in some recognisably contemporary concerns.
Best character? Stephen Mangan brings his usual droll skill to the therapist’s position; his varyingly anxious correspondents include Charles Dance, Richard E Grant, Steve Oram and Alice Lowe.
What to stream this month
Better Call Saul (Netflix) Season 4 plays a typically impressive, consummately performed long game as its characters process the fiery events of Season 3.
Kidding (Sky Atlantic, Now TV) Jim Carrey reunites with Michel Gondry for a bittersweet comedy-drama about the struggles of an ageing children’s TV presenter.
Maniac (Netflix) Emma Stone and Jonah Hill are the human guinea pigs who find their clinical drug trial going off the rails in this expensive, much-ballyhooed psychodrama.