Movie Review – Isle of Dogs

A visual feast for the eyes – Anderson, you’ve done it again!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Josip Knezevic

Japan. Dogs. Wes Anderson. Three of my favourite things come together in Isle of Dogs as Anderson explores the connection between man and his best friend in glorious stop motion animation.

As the title suggests, this is a film about an island of dogs, but more so, it’s about the people who love dogs… so basically, pretty much everyone on the planet. Except in Isle of Dogs, popular opinion has become divided following the outbreak of a dog flu plague. Many turn against their four-legged pals as those infected are banished to live in solitude on the island.

Much like Anderson’s 2009 stop motion animation Fantastic Mr Fox, the production of Isle of Dogs is nothing short of outstanding. As soon as I saw the opening scene, I knew it was going to be a work of art. That scene alone has bested everything else that has come out this year.

Anderson is an intricate and detailed scene selector. He knows exactly how everything is meant to be shot and knows exactly where everything is meant to be placed. It’s why he’s often called out for his obsession with symmetry, but what’s the problem with that? Sure, it might be a somewhat repetitive style across most of his films, but when it’s something that’s done intentionally to produce an aesthetic look, that actually looks fucking nice, how can you complain? I love witnessing the time and effort put into the setup of each frame, especially when it delivers such an entertaining film.

But of course, all of this isn’t to the sole credit of Anderson. Whether it be the unique, dog character models, with each one having its own distinct features, to the set designs and background artwork that must have taken an incredible amount of time to produce, it’s clear the whole production team put a lot of love and dedication into every minute detail of this film.

My only real qualm with Isle of Dogs is the fact that the story doesn’t quite live up to the production quality behind it. While certainly not terrible, the narrative does fall just short of some of Anderson’s other works, such as Moonrise Kingdom. Isle of Dogs does have something to say, and it says it with an enjoyable amount of comedy, but it’s overall message isn’t as strong as some of Anderson’s past films.

Nevertheless, Isle of Dogs is still a very well-made film that’s filled with an all-star cast of voice actors. Jeff Goldblum and Bryan Cranston are standouts, even though Goldblum is simply just being quintessential Goldblum. It’s definitely one to catch on the big screen so you can fully take in all of its visual wonder. Go see it.

Isle of Dogs is available in Australian cinemas from April 12 

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox


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