Isle of Dogs (2011)

Action, Crime, Thriller
Andrew Howard, Barbara Nedeljakova, Edward Hogg, John Buck
When London gangland boss Darius Deel discovers his new trophy-wife Nadia is having an affair, he hunts down her lover Riley and a deadly game begins.
  • 21 Jan 2014 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Sean Hogan Writer:
  • Tammi Sutton Director:
  • N/A Website:
Great Film! A fresh take on an old genre…10/10
This movie was a lot of fun! I saw this film at the London Fright Festival last month and really enjoyed it. I thought the acting was really good and it looked better than many of the films we saw at the festival over the weekend. The story was fun and had an interesting twist on an old genre. We would highly recommend this film to our friends. It's a great movie. I thought it was very well directed and so did my girlfriend. Actor Andrew Howard as the lead villain was remarkable and refreshing in what was surprisingly not your same old Cockney East End thug. He brought a tremendous presence to the role. The other actors were all equally good. I look forward to more films from this director.
So bad...it's bad2/10
I saw this film at Frightfest 2010 in London and rather embarrassingly I was sitting in the same row as the director and some of the stars. I say embarrassing as there are quite a lot of laughs in this film, but most are unintentional. Small things like a firedoor sign (clearly filmed in a hotel rather than a country house) to a suitcase 'full' of money that appears to have about £200 at most in it.

Unfortunately it's not just the small things that are laughable in this film. The characters are stereotypical (bumbling police, foul mouthed wisecracking boss, hit-man with a heart), the dialogue is trying to be genuine/gritty whilst also amusing and fails with both, and there are some glaring plot holes. There are several scenes that are way too long and talky whilst the music booms over the top trying to add gravitas to characters going over the same points again and again.

The acting isn't too bad on the whole, the major characters are a gang boss, his wife and her lover who's also a hit-man for said boss. The boss puts in a decent performance that owes a lot to Ben Kinglsey in 'Sexy Beast' and Vinnie Jones from Guy Ritchie films, that said he clearly had fun with it and that comes across. The Wife is a Czech actress who's main functions are to walk around pouting and having some rough and tumble with various protagonists both of which she does fine. The hit-man performance is very strange though. Ed Hogg seems to go from maniacal to breaking down crying in every scene in the most uneven performance I've ever seen. Ed is the only actor I recognised from another film having seen 'Bunny and the Bull' in which I thought he was very good, which just makes his performance even more confusing and ultimate I just think he was miscast also being too slight and having too weak a voice for the role.

In the end the film wants to be a cross between a Guy Ritchie film, Severance and Sexy Beast but fails to be as fun or interesting as any of them. I doubt there will be any major release of this film, but there are laughs to be had (however unintentional) but I certainly wouldn't pay for them!
Twisting and intense. Limey-crime at it's best!8/10
Isle of Dogs is a taut thriller, the tale of a kept woman, struggling between her criminal husband and a young lover.

That's as much spoiler as you'll get in this review because I would hate to ruin even one of the reveals, which come fast (get your popcorn beforehand) and, just when you think it's out of surprises, think again.

(And again.)

A well-crafted crime-thriller, Isle of Dogs' narrative is smooth, tantalizing as the pieces come together and the drama builds. Rather than abusing non-linear techniques as a gimmick, it uses them to accent the narrative, giving the viewer WHAT they need to know WHEN they need to know it.

Fans of early Brain Michael Bendis' comics (Jinx, Torso, Goldfish) will certainly get this film, which is paced, and unravels, more like a classic Eastwood western than a contemporary lime-y-crime. And it's foolish to compare this film to a Guy Ritchie shoot-em-up just because of the locale. While it packs PLENTY of action and some marvelously grotesque shocks, there is a depth of character and tragedy here that goes well beyond the standard cockney-crime offering.

(And again.) (sorry, another unexpected, awesome reveal)

Sutton is clearly an actor's director, giving her cast the freedom to breathe, to spit (!), and to turn in stellar, layered performances. Edward Hogg, Barbara, Nedeljakova, and especially Andrew Howard are all performers who own their camera time and Sutton is gifted enough to capture the nuances that might otherwise be lost. Her direction makes even the most mundane of events intriguing, sometimes juxtaposing an almost Kubrikian stillness of camera with scenes of dramatic, sweeping motion. She frames shots for impact and knows how to capture moments for their chill factor. (I'll personally never forget the body dragged past the doorway in her film, Sutures).

From the title (a subtle metaphor for loyalty and captivity), to Worman's score (eerie with f'n' attitude), this film hooked me all the way through and, several times, had me shouting out loud.

(And again.) (Yeah, those twists just keep coming.)
Freedom means different things to different people.8/10
Criss cross, and a lot of extra double crosses, make a mixed up story come out bloody in the end. Great cast of the usual UK suspects make up a very normal seeming story that just feels like a normal every day story presented in mixed order Pulp Fiction style, but then it goes, and bends over backwards to flip the script, and take you completely off guard. Every time you think you have this movie figured out, they change the plot again, by adding a new flashback, or even more fun have someone react in a totally unexpected manor. I really ended up Enjoying this movie, and I think the big thing that made it work was the fact that this tougher than stone ex-con kingpin, has never actually killed anyone, and goes so far out of his way to keep that one thing even though he is so irreproachably evil, and a complete psychopath, so it should not matter to him, only it really does. I would recommend this for action/thriller fans who like a little blood in their tea. Graphic, and gory, with extreme violence toward both men, and women, but it all pays off in the end.
Isle of Barbara N.2/10
The guy who spat on your grave (not literally, just in the Remake), Mr Andrew Howard, might just be the best thing in here. Well best "living" thing that is. And he (almost) gets away with it. The other two main players/actors unfortunately are not up to the task. This movie could have been so much more (and I cannot stop thinking, that a great title was thrown away on this movie too).

But then again, there are a few people who read a few things into this (which I clearly didn't catch) and enjoyed it. So please make sure to read the positive feedback too, before you decide whether to watch the movie or not. Just let me point out, that I did see quite a few things coming and wasn't as surprised as another reviewer. The script is not as clever as it thinks it is and Barbara N. (though I do love her) is not game/up to the task. And considering the major role she is playing, this is a big letdown (for my crush and for the movie).