Similar to his prior acclaimed animated film Watership Down, Martin Rosen's Plague Dogs is a a beautiful animated feature that is more appropriate for adults than children. The film tells the story of two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, who escape from a government research lab. As the authorities attempt to hunt down the canines quietly, Snitter and Rawf manage to survive in the wild and evade their pursuers thanks to the help of Tod, a cunning fox. As rumor spreads among the humans that the dogs which escaped may carry some type of plague, the research labs efforts to recapture the dogs escalates. Featuring a powerful and emotionally potent ending, Martin Rosen's The Plague Dogs is a bleak story full of despair which uses the exploits of two canines to speak to the cruelties which Mankind brings to the world and nature. What has always impressed me about Martin Rosen's work is his ability to inhabit the headspace of his characters, in this circumstance canines, showing an astute ability to write dialogue for different animals in a way that just feels genuine. Creating a unique perspective of man through the eyes of a canine, Rosen delivers a powerful tale of two animals in search of their "master", who ultimately are unable to escape the cruelties of mankind. Whether it be news reports, researchers discussing next steps, or concerned community members, the use of voiceover in The Plague Dogs is particularly well executed, effectively establishing how these dogs are merely at the mercy of a world they cannot hope to understand. Too bleak for children, Rosen uses The Plague Dogs to raise tough questions about man's impact on nature, with Snitter and Rowf being animals who simply struggle to survive outside of the confines of the man-made world they typically inhabit. Featuring a emotionally startling finale, The Plague Dogs is another strong effort from Martin Rosen, being another strong reminder that animated films don't have to be exclusively for children.
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