Directed by Wes Anderson
On general release from 30th March 2018
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
It is considered that many who viewed Isle Of Dogs on the opening night of the Berlin Film Festival regarded it as a scathing comment on the global rise of nationalism and on the Trump presidency.
There are other interpretations you could apply about the subject matters in the film, for example, the cruel and sadistic mistreatment of dogs by humans – many countries still eat dogs, including China, Vietnam, and surprisingly in Switzerland, where farmers devour the creatures – and the increase of totalitarian states.
The movie may have a PG certificate label but this is no dog-themed stop-motion animation targeted at children.
Director Wes Anderson draws heavily on the influence of acclaimed Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa.
It is set around 2040 when Japan in general demonised dogs to such an extent that the mayor of Megasaki City despatched the entire dog population of the metropolis, numbering 750,000, to an appropriately named Trash Island, a toxic wasteland, following an outbreak of Snout Fever, a serious form of Dog Flu.
A godsend of sorts for them is the Mayor’s orphan nephew Atari (voiced by Koryu Rankin), nicknamed ‘The Little Pilot’, who visits the island in search of his deported dog, Spots (voiced by Liev Schreiber).
He bands together a group of dogs in pursuit of this aim, led by Chief (voiced by Bryan Cranston).
Set in Japan – incidentally Anderson created the filming in studios in Bromley, East London – it features traditional practises sush as preparing sushi, Kabuki Theatre, Taiku drumming and Sumo wrestling.
I am not a big fan of animation films but Isle Of Dogs was entranching. It has very elaborate settings, stunning visuals and the puppetry is outstanding.
An intriguing aspect was that although all the dogs spoke English, all the other characters spoke Japanese, with no subtitles to help you understand what they were saying. This gave a pronounced alienating feel to the story.
You would be barking mad not to see this very peculiar film!