“Isle of Dogs” was bizarre and fantastic


Ashley Morin, Staff Writer

This past March, Wes Anderson, released his newest indie film “Isle of Dogs.” Much like Anderson’s other films, it’s difficult for mainstream audiences to understand or appreciate, however, it’s without a doubt that this film is worthy of praise.

What’s easy to praise about “Isle of Dogs” is the elegant, purposeful sound design. Every scene seamlessly flows into the next with this stylistic blend of Japanese and American orchestras. “Isle of Dogs” is a visually striking film, much rivalling dreary landscapes in Mad Max: Fury Road, as its landscapes (outside of the scenes set in Megasaki, which is a fictionalized Japanese city) are virtually monochrome. This can only be described as stylistic in setting the tone and the reality in which these dogs live in. Trash island, is as its name implies, is an island of garbage — ; a whole island covered in nothing but trash is depressing to say the least, and as we see, these dogs living it in. This sets up just how miserable of an existence these dogs must live in on an everyday basis.

Even good films have flaws and  “Isle of Dogs” is no exception. Consistently, the pacing of this film are broken by flashbacks, which add depth to this world and give context to moments in the story. However, the re-occurrence of these scenes become annoying and distract from the main story. There’s also a minor amount of plot holes. Most films have them but, in “Isle of Dogs” they are more leaps of logic than plot holes. To be fair, one might say that they might have been left open as not to clutter the film with exposition, or even so that the audience members can infer what might have happened; regardless, for characters to get from x to z, y needs to happen and we don’t see that, we must just accept that it did and move on.

What is most significant about the film by far is the underlying message: the spread of false propaganda. It’s odd to think that this may come from the film that we see, a film essentially about dogs, however, upon a closer look it adds value to this otherwise enjoyable, beautiful movie. The dog flu of Megasaki is propagated by its mayor to be a menace that is rampant, thus creating this anti-dog propaganda. As one watches the film, it’s discovered that this same dog flu is indeed curable, but the mayor covers up the truth and continues to spread this propaganda. We see from how easily the masses believe this spread of false information and the damage it causes to the lives of those affected by it: the dogs and dog owners. This is reflective of our own history and in the current climate in our own politics.

While normally, this isn’t praiseworthy only because it has a political message but for the way Wes Anderson presents this to us successfully subdues the audience into understanding and becoming sympathetic with the dogs and/or victims of the abuse that false information may cause. To imagine that a film so unassuming as “Isle of Dogs” to send this message is very clever, and expertly done.

“Isle of Dogs” as a whole was a rather enjoyable film that had a good heart, beautiful imagery, and overall was a good experience. It’s not the most amazing film to exist, however, it’s worth a watch if one’s looking for a good film and loves dogs.