The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson is one of the most original, quirky film makers working today. His style is unlike any director in the movie industry and that oddball flavor is in full display in The French Dispatch, Anderson’s latest film.

According to Anderson, The French Dispatch is a “love letter to journalists” as the film follows three separate stories of three journalists preparing their stories for the fictional Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun newspaper as they create its final issue. The three sections of the movie are “Concrete Masterpiece”, “Revisions of a Manifesto” and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner.”  Each section have its humor and eccentricities that fill the approximately balanced screen time.

I laughed a lot during The French Dispatch because there were so many things that were so silly that it was humorous. So much was presented with a sly, deadpan delivery that no one involved believe it to be funny or even strange. This, of course, made the situation all the funnier.

There is a massive ensemble cast. Wes Anderson has many of his reoccurring troupe of actors in the film, but there were others present that we have not seen in Anderson movies prior. The cast included Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeffrey Wright, Benicio Del Toro, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Henry Winkler, Bob Balaban, Owen Wilson, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Lyna Khoudri, Adrien Brody, Christoph Waltz, Liev Schreiber, Stephen Park, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman, Fisher Stevens, Willem Dafoe, Mathieu Amalric, Saoirse Ronan, Winston Ait Hellal, Tony Revolori, and Griffin Dunne.

The first and third sections of the film were my favorites. There is an animated bit in the third story that was just hilarious. It is so clear that the whole cast was just having a ball with their bizarre characters that it came across in their performances.

The colors are perfectly mixed with stylish black and white that enhances the storytelling of each act. The writing is witty and verbose. The dialogue is rich and intricate and helps to infuse each individual character with something original and special.

If you are a fan of Wes Anderson’s work, this film is for you. If you enjoy eccentric characters and some ridiculous situations, you’ll like The French Dispatch. Yes, it is a little disjointed but it fits together sufficiently enough, I guess. It is an experience for sure.

4.2 stars

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