27 May 2018

Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson’s latest film is a The Little Prince-esque fable that will definitively entertain all ages. The young ones for its visual splendour and child-like allegorical storytelling of good triumphing over evil; for the adults, the visual allure of Anderson’s signature symmetry and colour-styling, and the dry, deadpan humour peppered throughout the vague, political satire. And of course we have one of Alexandre Desplat’s best score stringing the whole move along, and boy does he have fun with the Japanese influences. 

This was a Japanese dystopian derived from the mind of Anderson. It appeared typically how a non-native, familiar, yet still ultimately a stranger, visualises and imagines Japan to be. Is it offensive? Not really except for his decision to have a white, American to be the heroine. Must the radical be not from the society? Must she be the only one to see the truth? Maybe if it was not about Japan it would not have been so bad...say North Korea? Or Russia? There was no good possible plot point to have that character be white. 

But otherwise, the story was great. It was simple yet affecting with genuinely deserving emotional cues and moments. The ace voice cast definitely helped to sell the story both in its emotion stakes and the comedic beats. Standouts include Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray. 

This was one of Anderson’s best film. It was beautifully directed and well-paced, with a clear story and moral that was not didactic. The script was smart, the wit was wry and the eyes were moist. And surely more accessible than most of his live-action ones. However, it might not make it till Oscar season especially with the whole Asian/white-saviour controversy hanging over it. Which, regardless, will be a shame but hopefully it might still get some technical nods, and maybe a writing, directing and score recognition. 

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