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Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson has long been an exciting film-maker. Directing such peculiar comedies as ‘Rushmore’, ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’, his flair for discovering humour in mundane situations has been unequalled. His variety of work has made his output consistently engaging with ‘Isle of Dogs’ delivering another quality production. Using stop-motion animation, his latest is aimed at the young at heart with Anderson’s gleeful observations of life’s foibles on full display.

In the near future, Japan’s canine population is in the grip of a deadly flu virus. The Mayor of Megasaki City takes drastic action and sends every dog to Trash Island. One of the first dogs to be sent to Trash Island belongs to the Mayor’s ward 12 year old Atari Kobayashi, who goes on a desperate mission to rescue his four legged pal. After an arduous journey to the island, Atari encounters a group of dogs who promise to help find his lost pooch. With time running out before the Mayor takes even more drastic actions, Atari and his friends race against the clock before tragedy strikes.

Using a mix of animation styles, ‘Isle of Dogs’ stands out. From the smooth look of Megasaki City to the ragged roughness of Trash Island, each scene comes alive. Animation is for all, not just for children, with ‘Isle of Dogs’ displaying substantial themes amongst the hand-drawn wonders. Whilst its simple story of a boy searching for his dog is nothing new, the way Anderson uses it to craft a tale uniquely his own shows his command of the craft.

Credit also goes to the voice actors who convey the desperation and ruthlessness of their characters. Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and others bring their considerable experience to fully flesh out their roles. The infusion of Japanese culture gives ‘Isle of Dogs’ a different look with the various local traditions displayed having much visual impact. Mixed with a sly blend of humour and pathos, ‘Isle of Dogs’ has enough to ensure viewers remain engaged.

Any Wes Anderson movie is usually an ‘event’. ‘Isle of Dogs’ is another in his rich tapestry of work. Wryly quirky with gorgeous animated vistas, Anderson’s career certainly hasn’t gone to the dogs with this endlessly inventive effort.

Rating out of 10: 7

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