Wes Anderson’s latest production, Isle of Dogs, is not just a beautiful clay animation. It’s also a clever political satire that will satisfy audiences of all ages.
Set in a futuristic Japan, the stop-motion comedy follows 12-year-old boy Atari Kobayashi (voiced by Koyu Rankin) looking for his dog, Spots (Liev Schreiber), six months after all the dogs in Megasaki City are banished to Trash Island.
Atari’s uncle, Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) sends the dogs away after flu infects the entire population, even though scientist Professor Watanabe says he is close to finding a cure.
When Atari’s plane crash-lands on the island, he is rescued by five mutts; then the plot really kicks in.
The dogs – Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Boss (Bill Murray), and Duke (Jeff Goldblum) – are brilliant creations, both visually and in terms of writing, with distinct looks and personalities. The actors inject a lot of character despite not appearing on screen.
The film features subtle nods to Japanese culture, such as taiko drums, haikus, cherry blossom and Katsushika Hokusai’s famous painting, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
The story of mistreated dogs in exile is a moving reflection and sometimes harsh criticism of the horrendous happenings in societies around the world.
Edited by Pete Spurrier