Isle of Dogs – Movie Review

Trailer: https://youtu.be/dt__kig8PVU

Rating: B+

Positives

  • This film features one of the most stacked voice casts I’ve ever seen & they are put to use very well here. I would say none of the voice performances really standout, but all are fantastic.
  • Wes Anderson very much brings his aesthetic to this film. His direction here is quite strong. As he has said this film is very much influenced by the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Which you can see throughout, from standoffs to someone showing up on a distant hillside. The film is also full of “how’d they do that?” shots. Making it easily one of the best looking stop motion animated films I’ve ever seen. From a gorgeous glass bottle hut to the use of shadows this films visuals are both immaculate & grimy. Much props to Wes Anderson & cinematographer Tristan Oliver.
  • Wes Anderson also brings a pretty strong screenplay here as well. Anderson peaked his head into politics with his last film “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. But this film is definitely his deepest dive yet. Like “The Grand Budapest Hotel” this film very much deals with rising authoritarianism. Which here with “Isle of Dogs” it is very much more prevalent. This film also features the signature Wes Anderson comedic dialogue, which also works very well here.
  • As you might expect the animation here is amazing. It’s mesmerizing what they do with the stop motion animation. Just the use of cotton alone is incredible. This is very much some of the best animation work I’ve ever seen. I was also impressed with the non-stop motion animation. The use of still images & 2D animation is also quite remarkable.
  • Alexandre Desplat’s drum centric score is also fantastic. It helps bring the aesthetic to new heights & create a unique environment.

Negatives

  • There are a couple of moments where the film drags a little.
  • The film makes a choice to never show subtitles for it’s Japanese characters, they are either translated through an actual translator or just narrated over. That choice is an odd one & very much hurts your connection with those characters.

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