Isle Of Dogs - This Beautiful Movie Really Rocks
Dir: Wes Anderson
Starring Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Koyu Rankin, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Yoko Ono, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel
So anyway, you know how life is generally a bit shitty at the moment? Like, on a global scale. Trump, Brexit, the NRA and the #MeToo folk – just for starters. Well, while we’re not normally a political animal, we here at Last Word have just come up with a solution for all the world’s ills. No really, trust us – we have.
We all get together and we make Wes Anderson the benign dictator of Earth.
Trust us, it will be great. The world will become just that little bit more perfect, that little bit more precise, people will be better, they’ll certainly be kinder. “Respect” will become a thing again, and everything will be that little bit smarter, more appealing, more liveable with, and certainly funnier. And in a wry, witty way that reminds us of the best in us – not in any upcoming Horrible Bosses sequels kind of way. And it’ll definitely make everything a whole lot more symmetrical.
We’d be very happy to live in WesWorld – certainly on the strength of his beautifully humane new movie, Isle Of Dogs.
It’s interesting that Anderson’s latest is opening concurrently with Spielberg’s. They are two of the most signature directors that American cinema has ever produced. Both instantly recognisable, both ploughing a familiar furrow that they manage to reinvent and reimagine on just about every outing.
Yet Spielberg, booked to essentially make a “Spielberg movie” with Ready Player One has delivered a film that finds the filmmaker curiously disconnected from his material, material he in many ways helped to shape. It’s almost as if he can’t find the blueprint he helped to draw up. (Or more likely, doesn’t want to.) Anderson meanwhile, bends the world around him until it fits his own really rather wonderful vision. It’s not his first time using stop motion, but it reaffirms just how brilliantly the man turns everything he touches into something that is so unmistakably his. Isle Of Dogs is, very simply, the work of one of cinema’s current greats at his very best. Oh, and it’s easily the funniest movie of 2018 to date.
Beautifully realised in micro-detail (but once again, unlike Spielberg’s movie, always providing something to look at rather than be retina-overwhelmed by) Anderson’s second foray into animation locates us brilliantly and instantly in a future vision of Japan where a cat-loving despot (who bears more than a passing nod to numerous real world contemporary leaders) banishes dogs to Trash Island (as it sounds) only to have his young 12 year old ward Akira fly a plane onto said garbage tip in search of his own beloved mutt. Here he finds a bunch of dogs voiced by what is rapidly becoming the Anderson rep company – Goldblum, Balaban, Norton and the absolutely essential Bill Murray – with superb new additions Johansson and Cranston, who has never been better. It’s almost pointless to discuss plot – once again (as ever) chaptered and captioned with ridiculous charm – because plot doesn’t matter in an Anderson film. They exist somewhere between character and incident – and Isle of Dogs is well appointed with plenty of both. And the gags are good. If Anderson has any antecedents, you could argue for Kubrick in his precision. But Stan never got the laughs like Wes does.
Too early to call Movie Of The Year? Fuck it, we were there when the word “Prologue” came up.
And we’re only saying this because The Royal Tenenbaums owes so much to this film – BUT, ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the age of The Magnificent Andersons. (Long may they reign over us – Remember, that whole benigh dictator of Earth thing up top?)
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