Review: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs explores our love of pets through stunning animation, warm humor…and trash


This year’s Berlinale was opened by Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, an animation masterpiece set in near-future, dystopian Japan. Anderson’s trademark warm, gentle humor is in full force here and had the audience already chuckling in the opening scenes.

After dogs are banned from the city of Megasaki to Trash Island, the story could easily be seen as an allegory for right-wing persecution in the 1930s, but is softened by the tale of childhood love between a boy and his dog as 12-year-old Atari journeys through the island looking for his exiled pooch.

Many Wes Anderson alums return to lend their voices (Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and Jason Schwartzman, among others), joined by newcomers like Bryan Cranston. The star-studded cast do an excellent job of bringing these dogs to life. A particular highlight is Tilda Swinton, who makes a hilarious cameo as Oracle, a small pug whose supernatural powers give her “visions.”

This film gets four and a half stars, and is a must-see for animation buffs (and, of course, dog lovers).

Isle of Dogs will be released in the US on March 23 and in Germany on May 10, 2018.


Film stills © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox, courtesy the Berlin International Film Festival.