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The French Dispatch - Movie Review

The French Dispatch

“Just try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose.”

Oh, the quirkiness! The dry comedy. The razor-sharp dialogue. The symmetrical shots that capture the wonderful pastel-clad sets. All of which give a certain brightness to the underlying dark story (or in this case…stories) that drives the film. Yeah, you know you are watching a Wes Anderson film. And out of his entire catalogue, Anderson’s new film, The French Dispatch (of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun), probably showcases the auteur’s signature style more so than any of his other projects.

"showcases the auteur’s signature style more so than any of his other projects"


 

Bookended by a tragedy for the titular newspaper, the film’s division into (mainly) three stories is a wonderful love letter to journalists by bringing their beautifully written and exceptionally detailed words to life.  The editor of the paper, Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray) dies suddenly of a heart attack. Per his will, the paper is to be completely dissolved, following one final edition that includes three articles of previous editions with an obituary.

The stories highlighted are as follows: an introduction called, “The Cycling Reporter,” where Herbsaint Sazerac (Owen Wilson) takes us on cycling tour of the town of Ennui, France – the city in which the film is set; Story #1, “The Concrete Masterpiece,” where J.K.L. Berensen (Tilda Swinton) recounts her report of incarcerated artist, Moses Rosenthaler (Benicio Del Toro) in her own enthusiastic presentation; Story #2, “Revisions to a Manifesto,” where Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand) tells about her coverage of a student protest on the streets of Ennui and her personal involvement in it; and Story #3, “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner,” where, during a television interview, reporter Roebuck Wright (Jeffrey Wright) recites verbatim his article about his dinner-gone-wrong with The Commissaire of the Ennui police force. The French Dispatch

Especially after viewing this film, there is no doubt that Anderson has completely perfected his unique style and tone, but The French Dispatch is also wonderfully innovative for the filmmaker’s style. Yes, we see all of his filmmaking trademarks, like I stated, but we also have wonderful new editions of jumping between black-and-white to color, character’s standing in suggestive statue-eques forms in place of violence, and even the use of comic-strip style animation. These elements perfectly accentuate key sequences of the film and makes it all the more unique and a joy to watch.

Anderson’s writing also continues to impress as he progresses through his career. Each individual story in the film, as well as the entire over-arching story, has its own strong theme that shows its effects from the political and societal impact, as well as the personal. Everything from greed, freedom, love, and much more, Anderson continues to take his specific tales and intertwine universal themes and degrees of darkness into them, giving a wonderful depth to the story and characters.

Some may not enjoy the anthology structure of the film, since there is no specific main character to emotionally grasp on to for the entirety of the movie. But, for me, I think it is a great addition to the filmmaker’s catalogue that possesses a nice, small reinvention for him and his storytelling. Film lovers: go see it. Now. You will not regret it.

The French Dispatch is now playing in theaters.

5/5 stars

 Film Details

The French Dispatch

MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for crude sexual content and language.
Runtime:
108 mins
Director
: Wes Anderson
Writer:
Wes Anderson
Cast:
Benicio Del Toro; Adrien Brody; Tilda Swinton
Genre
: Comedy | Romance
Tagline:
Of Liberty Kansas Evening Sun.
Memorable Movie Quote: "All great beauties withhold their deepest secrets"
Theatrical Distributor:
Searchlight Pictures
Official Site: https://www.searchlightpictures.com/thefrenchdispatch/
Release Date:
October 22, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional twentieth century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in "The French Dispatch Magazine".

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The French Dispatch

 

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