I shall state my bias at the beginning of this review. I love Wes Anderson. There is something so gentle and refreshing about his films— and he’s also as cute as…. which of course is an added bonus.
Now you say, what has a director’s looks got to do with the quality of a film… well Wes spoke on a little pre-film clip thanking us all at Palace for coming to Isle of Dogs. How sweet…. sigh.
And I loved The Royal Tenenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. For a young man he has a terrific catalogue of delightful films. A friend today also recommended Mr Fox.
Isle of Dogs is a stop motion animated film and is quite beautiful, full of powerful themes about treatment of the other, but also at times quite annoying because of the number of backstories. Anderson has assembled a fabulous cast of actors to voice his characters (mainly dogs) including Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel and the heroic,Yoko Ono.
The dogs speak entirely in English (as we all know) and the young boy, Akira, who is the main protagonist, speaks entirely in Japanese, which is great. My Japanese consists of 3 words yet I was able to get a clear understanding of what Akira was saying. Call me brilliant if you want, but the credit must go to the film-maker who has used context so well that meaning is quite clear.
I thought the theatre would be full of children but this is not really a child’s film. Perhaps a 15+ young person with an interest in Japan, dogs and anime might enjoy this but it’s too complicated for younger children. It was a little too complicated for the writer at times as well. There were so many back stories that I was getting dizzy.
But do go and see it. It is a joyful film, very inventive, beautiful to behold and … did I mention… the Director is really cute.
Ps Say the title quickly.