Isle Of Dogs [2018] ★★★½

 Anyone who’s been following this blog for the past few years probably knows that I love Wes Anderson and stop-motion animation. Anderson explored this territory before in 2009’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, and he’s at it again with the beautiful “Isle of Dogs”, a love letter to dogs and Japan. From “Rushmore” to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, Anderson never stopped experimenting with his films, introducing us to an array of colorful characters and taking us to lands filled with history. In “Isle of Dogs”, it’s all about Japan; the city of Megasaki is fictional, of course, but the roots are there. We’re in the future and Mayor Kobayashi, a form of dictator, asks to deport all dogs to trash island, following a pandemic. But 12-year old Atari (Koyu Rankin), whose dog Spots was deported, isn’t having it, so he decides to travel to the island and rescue his beloved dog. In true Anderson fashion, everything about this film feels organic, from the production design to the use of colors and costumes. Told in a series of flashbacks, the movie is breathtaking to behold. No one else working in films today would dare use miniatures or stop-motion animation in such a witty and original way. That’s why Anderson is a unique filmmaker, working at the top of his creative form. And his “Isle of Dogs” is truly a wonder: a perfect synthesis of concept and execution, fueled with a terrific score by the legendary Alexandre Desplat. If you love Wes Anderson as much as I do, this is a movie that you will definitely want to savor, from start to finish. It’s a gift.

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