13 April 2018.
ISLE OF DOGS ***1/2
If you’re a Wes Anderson fan (“The Royal Tenenbaums”, “The Darjeeling Limited”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”), you’re going to love his latest work. Once again a quirky tale, this time he’s done it in animation with some of the most distinctive voices in show business – Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel…
Those stars are the voices of the dogs that have been ostracized to this derelict, desolate island by an evil, cat-loving Japanese tyrant under the false pretext of some disease they may be carrying. In the meantime a little Japanese boy flies over to the island to find his beloved lost dog.
The deadpan dialogue, the naive design of the animals, the landscape, decor and music are all so wacky that you will be spellbound by its genius simplicity. This tongue-in-cheek story about corrupt leadership, intrigue and gumption may be a mirror of our world today, but just let it take you on its wild ride and enjoy identifying those pooch voices.
It’s playful, a looney delight, especially if you love dogs…
THE THIRD MURDER ***1/2 (vo Japanese)
This mysterious Japanese film is not so much a thriller or a courtroom drama as an elegant puzzle about judgement and honor – traits that characterize Japanese tradition.
A man brutally kills someone in the night and then confesses to the murder. His young lawyer has to figure out a way to save his client’s life, though the blatant confession makes this difficult, as does the reticence of the accused. But the more he and his colleagues dig for the truth, the more opaque becomes the story.
The multi-award winning director, Hirokazu Kore-Eda (“Nobody Knows”, “Like Father, Like Son”, “After the Storm”) has a knack for showing a modern, human face of Japan. For his ability to open up the rituals and characteristics of his country, he could be compared to Iran’s present master of cinema, Asghar Farhadi. They both have an acute, caring vision of their respective countries and spread it beyond their borders.
Here is a film to savor for its intricate scenario, its brilliant acting and camera work, and its discretion.
LA FINALE *** (vo French)
There are different ways to portray the dreaded encroachment of Alzheimer’s…here the French have decided to make it into a gentle comedy.
Played by the perennial, still attractive Thierry Lhermitte, the energetic owner of a Parisian bistro begins to have bouts of forgetfulness. Some years later he is in the throes of Alzheimer’s and cannot be left to his own devices. He has now been moved to his daughter’s home away from Paris and is camping out in his grandson’s room. If unwatched, he wanders all over town, picking up random dogs and getting lost. When his busy daughter and son-in-law ask the grandson to take care of him for a weekend, things go quickly awry, for the grandson is desperate to get to Paris for an important basketball final and decides to take Grandpa along.
The trip up to Paris is complicated with all sorts of hilarious deviations along the way. Suffice it to say that despite all the hindrances due to grandpa’s condition, they end up getting to know and appreciate one another while opening up the other’s inherent potential.
Directed by Robin Sykes, this is a wonderfully warmhearted comedy that allows young Rayane Bensetti to shine as Lhermitte’s handsome grandson. Good family fun!
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.