Thoughts On: Isle Of Dogs - Style, No...

31/03/2018

Isle Of Dogs - Style, No...

Quick Thoughts: Isle Of Dogs (2018)

In a dystopian Japan, all dogs are diseased and so are exiled to an island of trash.


"Well... that was something different." The words of a befuddled someone who I walked past as I left this movie - apt words if I may say.

Isle Of Dogs is Wes Anderson's second venture into stop-motion animation, one filled with sardonic comedy and innocuous irony, but distinctly lacking in character and weight. Anyone who has seen a Wes Anderson film will know exactly how this will look, save a few elements of framing that deal with depth of field more than Anderson really has before, and most probably with the intent of giving this a Japanese, or Kurosawa, aesthetic. The style, however, does not carry the film very well. So, whilst it is nicely composed and easy on the eyes, I found Isle Of Dogs to be rather mindless and boarder-line boring. With too many plot strands and no heart, no characters worth knowing and connecting to, this very quickly becomes a sequence of things happening--that is all.

Anderson's style then ultimately serves as a vehicle for rule-bending and breaking, for subverting and blowing up screenwriting tropes. And whilst his style has always facilitated such things, within the likes of Bottle Rocket and The Grand Budapest Hotel the precise and contrived tuphlodrama allows Anderson to reveal sides of humanity - a kind of stoically naive humanity - that more classical narratives employing more typical formal strategies cannot. Such access to the inner-workings of characters justifies and necessitates Anderson's style, but it can become a masturbatory exercise for his fans that is quite blind to narrative without a focus on character and theme. This is true of Isle Of Dogs; attempts to be quirky and different fall null when it becomes very clear that there is no heart, no genuity and little personality behind it all.

In the end, though this has garnered highly favourable reviews, I have to say that this is a so-so movie, one I gladly sat through, but wouldn't really care to see again.







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