Isle of Dogs ★★★

Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs is, to my mind, an amalgamation of almost every other Wes Anderson films. It has a kid's journey at its center like Moonrise Kingdom, a complicated father-son relationship like Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tannenbaums and Darjeeling Limited, underdogs (this time literally) fighting for survival like Fantastic Mr. Fox, a sacrosanct high school journalist like Rushmore. There's something for every fan of Wes Anderson to love here. But it feels a little too soon for a Greatest Hits compilation, no?

Not only are there a lot of self-referrential (and references to other films, too) elements, but there are a lot of layers to follow to keep up with the film. A narrator provides commentary, a translator translates some but not all characters, dogs are introduced that never show up again, time goes back and then text on screen tells you the flashback is over but you're not sure where you were before the flashback started. It becomes more trouble than it's worth after a while.

But then Harvey Keitel comes on, and howls in the most painful, leathery, dulcet tone, and you can't help but melt a little in your seat.