Sunday, 2 September 2018

Day 128: I love dogs

Another slow, fatiguing day at work, and a short evening, as I have to be in bed soon to be back at work for 7am tomorrow for delivery again. Ah well, once I’m up it’s fine, I like riding the bus down first thing when it’s quiet and the air is clear and the low morning light is piercing in through the windows. And the delivery shouldn’t be too large and there’ll be plenty of time to potter about and eat French pastries and drink coffee before it’s time to set the bar up.

Watched Isle of Dogs with the housemates this evening. I loved it. I mean, Wes Anderson hasn’t made a film yet I’ve not enjoyed. This one doesn’t quite reach the heights of Grand Budapest Hotel; it’s a smaller, more conventional story (although breathtakingly told), but it looks sublime and it’s so funny and the filmmaking is about as confident as you can get. And there are dogs in it, and the dogs are da cutest wess dey are.

It has all the hallmarks of a Wes Anderson film. There’s the deadpan comedy. The mournful 60s vibe to the soundtrack and the beating drums to push forward the narrative. The moments of surreal, incongruous violence, expressed so matter-of-factly. The purposefully cheap looking model shots. The truck shots following along the sideways motion. A poignancy that is all the more affecting for the aloofness of the surrounding tone. Tragedy and comedy held in balance so that each deepens the other. Bit parts for Bill Murray and Ed Norton and Jeff Goldblum and Harvey Keitel.

So Isle of Dogs was classic Wes Anderson, is what I’m saying. It was funny and touching and bizarre, though also utterly conventional, as a Wes Anderson film. The supporting characters could have had more development, and the ending wrapped up a little too easily, but, look, Wes Anderson is a filmmaker who has perfected his approach by now - you know what you’re getting, but you know you will like what you’re getting. He explores similar feelings again and again, through similar cues, but each time the experience is fresh, each time you’re happy returning to his brain for another go round.

Other things I liked: the conceit that the humans spoke Japanese but the dogs spoke English, and how the Japanese was sometimes translated intrinsically, within the world of the film, by an exchange student or whatever, while other times it was left for the audience, and the dogs, to be baffled. I liked the aesthetic, it reminded me of Akira and other 80s anime. I liked how it played with mythical storytelling tropes. I liked how one of the symptoms of the dog flu that had ravaged the canine population of Japan was sneezing, which they used to pull the rug from under serious situations at regular intervals. Right at the apex of an important speech, or in the silence after a pivotal reveal, one of the dogs would let out a cute little sneeze, and then the film would move on, as if it hadn’t happened. I laughed every time.

That’s all I got off the top of my head. Gotta go sleeps now to be bright functional technically alive for the open tomorrow.

Toodles x

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