Movie Review: Isle of Dogs

Isle of DogsIsle of Dogs is a movie honoring the Giallo film making tradition. The Giallo style was birthed in Britain but championed by the Italians. The impressive credit intro roll of Isle of Dogs moves you from whatever was occupying your thoughts at the moment, whisking you away to another world and with every colored monochromatic slide passing by on the screen, pulling you deeper into this stylish and exquisitely detailed feature, you can’t help but become transfixed by it all. As a style guide Isle of Dogs fits neatly into the genre of movies like: Snatch, Reservoir Dogs, Sexy Beast and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Isle of Dog’s Director, Tammi Sutton, solidly owns this piece of film real-estate, separating it from the above mentioned titles with glamorous cinematography and brilliant story telling.

This is a story of treachery, revenge, double dealing, murder and mayhem! It twists between edge of your seat thriller, crime drama and dark comedy. The story is an onion and mind fuck at the same time. Darius, played by Andrew Howard, is 100% thug and a pure sociopath. The story revolves around is his wife Nadia, played by Barbara Nedeljakova. Nadia’s affair with dashing pretty boy Riley, played Edward Hogg. Their love triangle is the crux of the plot Isle of Dogs revolves around. It’s a topsy turvy world of villainy that will flip on you one way before it turns back on you again.

Darius is hands on villain, who unflinchingly manages of his crime empire with ugly force: he enforces organizational order by delivering blow after brutal blow of visceral aggression to friends and associates alike. So when it comes to him finding out Nadia is cheating on him with Riley, one of his own men, he spares no expense in savagely exacting revenge on both. This is where the plot twist and then twist in again in a very surprising manner. You get a lot of “I didn’t see this coming” and “Oh, no you didn’t!” as everything unfolds with wide eyed surprises at every turn.

Besides, all this delicious story telling goodness, Isle of Dogs is beautifully filmed; it’s simply gorgeous and the attention to detail is spot on! Tim Polecat’s soundtrack is wondrous, riveting and sequences flawlessly to the action in the film. Tim’s soundtrack moves form etherial to pensive without being distracting. Tim uses some innovative musical choices, binding tightly to the story line of the film. The wardrobe choices are excellent. Wardrobe wise, one of my favorite moments comes when Nadia is being stocked in her home by an intruder wearing a black wide brimmed hat, his face covered in a white stocking, while his silhouette in a black leather trench coat. This sequence is both comedic and terrifying at the same time and the look adds to the “mise en scene”. The dialog delivered by all cast members, to say the least, are memorable and quotable because they’re devilishly well written. At times, turning popular expressions on their ear in ways you wouldn’t consider or likely never considered adds a nice touch to the character development. Isle of Dogs is driven by colorful anarchy and culminates with a host of surprises that are amusing and traumatizing all at the same time.

Isle of Dogs is a non-stop thrill ride into the dark underworld of crime, seduction, and betrayal. The movie erupts as vividly: it’s brilliant eye candy to deliver an intoxicating mix of dark comedy, drama and thrills. It will leave you flummoxed and exhilarated after a roller-coaster ride of skewed hi-jinx, rapacious shenanigans and brinksmanship craziness that closes with an unexpected end!

Isle of Dog's viewing platforms

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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