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Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson has a particular way of doing a movie, a typical way of telling a story. So if somebody says to you that Isle of Dogs is just another Wes Anderson’s movie, you know what to expect, right? Yeah-ish… When a filmmaker’s got style it means he is capable of making you revisit the joy (or sadness, or any other feeling) the way you felt before. And this is what Anderson’s fans are looking for.

But not only. A stylish filmmaker always adds a new flavour to the old recipe. Isle of Dogs tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire archipelago.

By setting his movie in Japan 20 years from now, Anderson baked a traditional cake. In this sci-fi, he is joined by his common fellows, who you already know from his previous films, Fantastic Mr Fox (2009), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). His mostly boys’ club includes Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, and regular girls Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono and Scarlett Johansson. The misadventures of the pack of stray dogs lead into a series of Japanese cultural aspects, from sumo fighters to sushimen, from robots to drummer players. In fact, Anderson takes advantage that Japanese people love comics to recreate his own stop-motion animation about environmental disasters.

Now I am going to give you the reason why you should consider watching Isle of Dogs in the cinema. It is very rare that an animation touches on serious subjects like recycling centres, ostracism, political corruption, atomic disasters, with a light tone, a sense of humour of a 12-year-old boy. It is a furry delight, a real treat. It is fresh and delicious as a raw fish. (Maybe you don’t like sushi, or animations, but consider a change this time.)

Plus if you are an English-speaking person, you will probably find it strange the dialogues in Japanese without translation or subtitles, particularly considering it is an American film. Anderson did it on purpose as a comical effect. It is as if you put on the shoes of a Tokyo tourist who does not speak English in New York. It is funny how New Yorkers speak and eat so fast.

Isle of Dogs is out today in national territory.

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