YOUR THEATRE AC­TOR

Rossendale Free Press - - Rossendale People - Wes An­der­son

GREG Thorp, who lives in Rawten­stall, has been a huge film en­thu­si­ast from a very young age.

He is a fan of Quentin Tarantino, Wes An­der­son and De­nis Vil­leneuve. One of his all-time favourite picks is Raiders of the Lost Ark. In­di­ana Jones was one of the first films he ever watched and is his favourite child­hood film. You can email him with com­ments and ob­ser­va­tions at: gregth­or­pre­views@gmail.com

Isle of Dogs, PG, 101 mins

ISLE of dogs is first and fore­most a bril­liant film which was ex­pertly birthed by Wes An­der­son and his su­pe­rior di­rect­ing.

The film flaw­lessly com­bines witty di­a­logue and beau­ti­ful im­agery to

de­liver a film amongst his best.

It shares the same stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion style as one of Wes An­der­son’s prior fea­tures: Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox.

How­ever, the more re­cent ad­di­tion to An­der­son’s col­lec­tion tran­scends the el­der in both style and sub­stance, of­fer­ing an even more quirky se­quence of events, des­tined to de­serve the £10 that you will spend at the cin­ema.

Isle of Dogs tells the story of a dystopian Ja­pan, where all dogs are out­lawed by of­fi­cial de­cree and are ex­iled to the ex­tremely un­de­sir­able Trash Is­land. It is to this wilder­ness that 12-yearold Atari trav­els in an odd fash­ion for the sole pur­pose of find­ing his long-lost dog and best friend, Spots.

Much like many of Wes An­der­son’s prior di­rec­to­rial fea­tures, this story in­cor­po­rates lots of wit and hu­mour but, also adds emo­tional nu­ance with mo­ments of melan­choly and suf­fer­ing.

It is in th­ese mo­ments where the nor­mal light-heart­ed­ness is abruptly in­ter­rupted by mo­ments of pure emo­tion which make this film truly spe­cial. Th­ese scenes are deftly com­mu­ni­cated by

the hugely tal­ented cast who bring this mot­ley ca­nine crew to life.

Isle of Dogs in­evitably has a large cast, pri­mar­ily con­sist­ing of An­der­son’s usual col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tors, all of who lend them­selves to their re­spec­tive char­ac­ters with great suc­cess.

In par­tic­u­lar, Koyu Rankin and Brian Cranston (in his col­lab­o­ra­tive de­but) turn in ut­terly great per­for­mances, con­vey­ing their re­spec­tive char­ac­ters in a fash­ion to which you ques­tion if any other ac­tors could re­place them.

This is not to ig­nore the rest of the cast, who also per­formed out­stand­ingly, with my per­sonal

favourites be­ing Ed­ward Nor­ton as Rex, and Jeff Gold­blum as Duke.

In his unique way, An­der­son de­liv­ers ex­po­si­tion and even di­a­logue – usu­ally de­liv­ered in cheap and mean­ing­less ways – with comedic ef­fect.

The great­est ex­am­ple of this is at the be­gin­ning of the film where, as a ti­tle card ex­plains, all of the dogs’ barks have been ren­dered into English, while hu­mans speak in their na­tive lan­guages, with English sub­ti­tles utilised very minutely.

This was very risky as, for large seg­ments of the film; it is tricky to un­der­stand what is be­ing con­veyed to us. Even the

main char­ac­ter, Atari, we have no un­der­stand­ing of, but, the emo­tion shown by the world-class an­i­ma­tion leaves us with a wealth of knowl­edge of the char­ac­ter which coun­ter­acts the lack of di­a­logue to per­fec­tion.

This was also done so that we, as view­ers, were made to em­brace the Ja­panese cul­ture and to im­merse us in its fas­ci­nat­ing di­alect. An­der­son wanted us to ‘lis­ten to peo­ple speak­ing in Ja­panese and not just fo­cus on the trans­la­tion’ be­cause of the fact that sub­ti­tles are dis­tract­ing and an easy method of break­ing the lan­guage bar­rier.

In­stead, he uses the

char­ac­ter of In­ter­preter Nel­son (Fran­cis McDor­mand) and an English-speak­ing type-writer to com­mu­ni­cate the vi­tal frag­ments of di­a­logue.

In­evitably, Isle of Dogs is a fan­tas­tic film.

I say in­evitably as Wes An­der­son is truly a mas­ter of film, with his library of nine films; all of a good stan­dard.

For me, Isle of Dogs is one of his bet­ter mo­tion pictures, ri­valling that of Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox, The Royal Te­nen­baums and even The Grand Bu­dapest Hotel. Its un­con­tested an­i­ma­tion is of the best qual­ity and is ut­terly ab­sorb­ing.

This film could be watched with­out sound and en­joyed but it would not al­low for the heart­felt mo­ments that are de­liv­ered through the mix­ture of EnglishJa­panese di­a­logue.

All as­pects of this film al­low for true beauty and amaze­ment, even the finer points like the score, which was crafted by Alexan­dre De­s­plat.

But the film also has its darker side which awakes a fear­ful and wor­ry­ing re­sponse for the beloved char­ac­ters.

A jour­ney of em­pa­thy and re­demp­tion; Isle of Dogs is a mas­ter­piece.

●● Wes An­der­son’s Isle of Dogs

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