At first glance director Tammi Sutton’s Isle of Dogs looks to be something of a blend between a London-based update of The Most Dangerous Game and those gritty Brit mob flicks like Layer Cake, Snatch or a Sexy Beast. Sort of a hunt-and-kill Brit gangster flick … but first looks can be deceiving.
Also, Isle of Dogs is an important lesson for indie filmmakers. Don’t be afraid to take some well-deserved criticism … you can get too close to the forest to see the trees when it comes to a film project that you have lived with since its inception. Such was the case with the first cut of Isle of Dogs, which was screened in 2010 and was nearly laughed out of the cinema (Fright Fest in London).
What Sutton was going for didn’t come across to the audience. The timing was all off. Rather than just ignore the visceral reaction to her film, she elected to rework the finished product. We say “finished” because the actors and crew were gone … the film had already gone through post-production and was indeed, finished.
That didn’t stop her. She literally took the film apart, tightened it, fixed the flow and ended up with a “finished” product that was entirely different than what the first version that “test” audiences had to sit through! It was an award-winner and not a laughingstock on the second festival run the following year!
The version that Green Apple Entertainment will be releasing in the domestic market on DVD this coming Jan. 21 is Isle of Dogs … without the fleas! This version proves that it can be done and that’s why they give out Oscars to craftsmen who work with sound and film editing; their work can make all the difference in the world!
Actress-turned-filmmaker Tammi Sutton (Sutures, Killjoy 2: Deliverance from Evil, etc.) has taken the Brit gangster formula and layered horror elements, with a dash of noir, over it to come up with this nasty (nasty in a very good sense) tale of rage, revenge and jealousy.
Darius (Andrew Howard — Blood River, I Spit on Your Grave, Limitless) is a ruthless London-based mob boss who discovers that his Russian-born trophy bride, Nadia (Barbara Nedeljakova — as Natalya in Hostel and Hostel: Part II and Raven in Jonathan Glendening’s Strippers vs. Werewolves), has grown tired of the violence and has taken a new, softer, more-gentle lover from within Darius’ crime family.
What she doesn’t seem to understand is that “possessions” don’t get a say in the choices they make. And Riley (Edward Hogg — The Borgias, White Lightnin'), while more than eager to please the alluring Nadia, is now faced with a death sentence from a psychopath who enjoys both the thrill of the hunt and the smell (fear), taste and bloodlust of the kill.
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