<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring the voice talent of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Harvey Keitel, Yoko Ono, Koyu Rankin, Kunichi Nomura, Akira Ito, Akira Takayama, Fisher Stevens, Tilda Swinton

Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes


Fans of Wes Anderson know they’ll always have a treat in store for them when they go to watch one of his enchanting little films. Isle of Dogs is no exception.

For dog lovers or real human beings anywhere, Isle of Dogs is a movie that will touch the soul. A charming yet disturbing story of a town in Japan whose Mayor, Kobayashi (Konichi Nomura), and most of its populace want to get rid of the entire ailing population of dogs. They are suffering from a disease and are removed to Trash Island. But there’s more to the story than that.


The Mayoral War, Atari (Koyu Rankin) decides to go in search of his guard dog Spots (Liev Schreiber) and with the help of Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), Boss (Bill Murray), Duke (Jeff Goldblum) and King (Bob Balaban) they set off on a mission of discovery and danger.

Stop motion animation was big a long time ago. Tim Burton’s magical stop motion films are still classics. Anderson has used the technique in his Fantastic Mr. Fox but the effect this time is magnificent and it’s only in 2D! No 3D gimmickry here and we’re all better off for it.


There’s politics, humanity, treachery, humans-behaving-like-animals, morals, ethics, drama, thrills and more in Isle of Dogs. And what’s interesting about it is, the Japanese characters all speak Japanese and there are no ‘direct’ subtitles. It’s either translated in reality (by a translator in the film) or through other lovely devices. The dog’s barks, however, are all heard as human voices.

In a day and age when more buildings and roads displace trees and animals, this film is quite vital. People become intolerant and innocent creatures have to suffer simply because ‘humans’ don’t want to care anymore. ‘Don’t feed the birds, they’ll give you diseases’; ‘Kill or get rid off all the stray dogs, they’ll bark or bite’ – Cries of ignorant and heartless people. Isle of Dogs is a creative and brilliant film but it is also a wonderful way to get the message across: the affection and loyalty that dogs can show far outweigh anything a human being is capable of.


Isle of Dogs is witty, enchanting, delightful and full of heart. The animation technique is mesmerising at times. And the voice talent are understated but effective. It’s a shame that this film has gotten a very limited release. It deserves to be seen by everyone.



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