By Sebastian Sheath
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go see Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival. Starring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Kung Fu Panda 3), Edward Norton (Fight Club, American History X), Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation), and Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), Isle Of Dogs opened the festival and has been received very positively. Wes Anderson is known worldwide for his unique artistic style in films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr Fox, and his newest film will drop worldwide in May this year.
Performances and Casting
As could be expected from a cast including everyone from Bryan Cranston and Tilda Swinton (Grand Budapest Hotel, Doctor Strange) to Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs, Bad Lieutenant) and Frances McDormand (Fargo, Moonrise Kingdom), all of the performances in this film were next to perfect with not a single weak spot and a surprisingly good performance from newcomer Koyu Rankin as Atari Kobayashi. Though many of the characters attached to the big names were small, all of them were hilarious and interesting in their own way. I must say, however, that the surprise stand-out stars included Tilda Swinton in a minor role as Oracle the pug and Jeff Goldblum as Duke. Also, in respect to casting (directed by Douglas Aibel and Kunichi Nomura), it was perfect. Each actor was great for their part. No matter how small the role, each actor’s voice fit their character perfectly.
Screenplay, Cinematography, and Direction
As can be expected from any of Wes Anderson’s work, the direction and cinematography are somewhat interlinked and were done so expertly. Having previously worked with Anderson on Fantastic Mr Fox, Tristan Oliver (Chicken Run, Loving Vincent) did a fantastic job as head of cinematography. The shots, as always, were perfectly curated and satisfyingly structured. I hope Anderson will be continuing with animation as, other than Grand Budapest Hotel, this and Fantastic Mr Fox have been some of his best work to date.
Anderson had also worked with screenwriters Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman before (on Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited) and Anderson himself and actor Kunichi Nomura (Lost in Translation, The Grand Budapest Hotel) also worked on the script. The story was wonderfully weird but the script was incredibly well put together. The characters gel perfectly with many laugh-out-loud moments and expertly crafted comedy.
Technicals and music
The editing of the film was for the most part fairly average but there were a few moments of very satisfyingly put together montages. The animation was also on-point, with the dogs so well animated that their emotions are conveyed comedically and effectively without speech. Also, the music, though occasionally awkward, was largely also above average (if not particularly mention-worthy).
In summary, I loved the movie and look forward to seeing it again. Everyone involved delivered great performances and the film was visually stunning as well as thoroughly enjoyable.
I hope you liked this review and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments. Also, for more reviews like this visit The Sci-Fi Critic and be sure to check out more ScreenHub content such as my articles updating you on HBO’s Watchmen show or Kung Fury II.