Opening this week

‘Isle of Dogs’ film review: A knockout visual treat

Animation is proving to be the perfect platform for the American’s director’s distinctive style.

Isle of Dogs sees director Wes Anderson return to animation for the first time since 2009’s Fantastic Mr Fox, based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name. Since Isle of Dogs is an original creation, Anderson does not have to limit himself to any kind of source material or appeal to kids. He is also on surer footing the second time round, and the result suggests that animation, more than live action, is perfectly suited to the acclaimed director’s unique sensibilities.

The story is set in the fictional Megasaki City in Japan in a quasi-dystopian future. The dictatorial leader Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nommura), has banished all dogs to a garbage dump outside the city called Trash Island, citing the prevalence of a highly contagious dog flu. Among the canines is Spot (Liev Schreiber) companion and bodyguard to Atari (Koyu Rankin), Kobayashi’s orphaned nephew. Atari’s decision to venture into the unknown to retrieve Spots forms the crux of the story.

On Trash Island, a vast array of canine characters try to chart an escape by assembling their own ragtag outfit. These are a group of former pets struggling to survive as strays: Rex (Edward Norton), Boss (Bill Murray), Duke (Jeff Goldblum), King (Bob Balaban), and Chief (Bryan Cranston) who scorns his companions’ inability to be comfortable without their masters and the right brand of doggie treats.

Atari is not the only one fighting to reclaim friendship with the dogs. Back in Megasaki, foreign exchange student Tracy (Greta Gerwig) begins to investigate the mayor and his unsavoury activities.

Play
Isle of Dogs (2018).

Barring his debut, Bottle Rocket (1996), Anderson’s movies have always been about design rather than characters or plot. The colour palette, quirky and inventive music, and general design and symmetry of everything have always been the best part of Anderson’s films. In live action, Anderson is constrained by reality, but in animation, his imagination gets to soar. His idiosyncratic and distinctive style, which has been perfected over a three-decade career and calcified into predictability and shallowness, integrates beautifully into the narrative of Isle of Dogs.

The movie zings along at a rapid pace, and is crammed with beautiful detail and design. Although the movie misses Anderson’s trademark humour since the dialogue is in service of the plot, and the director is unable to give deeper resonance to the events befalling his characters, the film can be enjoyed on the strength of its knockout visuals alone.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Expressing grief can take on creative forms

Even the most intense feelings of loss can be accompanied by the need to celebrate memories, as this new project shows.

Grief is a universal emotion and yet is one of the most personal experiences. Different people have their own individual ways of dealing with grief. And when it comes to grief that emerges from the loss of a loved one, it too can manifest in myriad ways.

Moving on from grief into a more life-affirming state is the natural human inclination. Various studies point to some commonly experienced stages of grieving. These include numbness, pining, despair and reorganization. Psychologist J.W. Worden’s 4-stage model for mourning includes accepting the reality of loss, working through the pain, adjusting to life without the deceased and maintaining a connection with the deceased, while moving on. Central to these healing processes would be finding healthy ways of expressing grief and being able to articulate the void they feel.

But just as there is no one way in which people experience grief, there is also no one common way in which they express their grief. Some seek solace from talking it out, while some through their work and a few others through physical activities. A few also seek strength from creative self-expressions. Some of the most moving pieces of art, literature and entertainment have in fact stemmed from the innate human need to express emotions, particularly grief and loss.

As a tribute to this universal human need to express the grief of loss, HDFC Life has initiated the Memory Project. The initiative invites people to commemorate the memory of their loved ones through music, art and poetry. The spirit of the project is captured in a video in which people from diverse walks of life share their journey of grieving after the loss of a loved one.

The film captures how individuals use creative tools to help themselves heal. Ankita Chawla, a writer featured in the video, leans on powerful words to convey her feelings for her father who is no more. Then there is Aarifah, who picked up the guitar, strummed her feelings and sang “let’s not slow down boy, we’re perfectly on time”, a line from a song she wrote for her departed love. Comedian Neville Shah addresses his late mother in succinct words, true to his style, while rapper Prabhdeep Singh seeks to celebrate the memory of his late friend through his art form. One thing they all express in common is the spirit of honouring memories. Watch the video below:

Play

The Memory Project by HDFC Life aims to curate more such stories that celebrate cherished memories and values that our loved ones have left behind, making a lasting impression on us. You can follow the campaign on Facebook as well as on Twitter.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of HDFC Life Insurance and not by the Scroll editorial team.