The French Dispatch – Film Review

I’ve grown to love Wes Anderson films over the last few years. I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel and still think its one of Anderson’s finest works, Moonrise Kingdom is quirky and cute, Isle of Dogs had me excited for stop-motion animation artfully being brought back into the spotlight, and now Anderson’s latest feature has hit the big screens with The French Dispatch. Honestly, I was really excited to finally see this film.

The French Dispatch is essentially a handful of short films by Wes Anderson with different uses of cinematograph and styles of storytelling, that married together as a single film, its umbrella cleverly being the basis of a fictional magazine publishing company run by Arthur Howitzer Jr., played by Anderson films’ prolific and iconic, Bill Murray.

What I love about Wes Anderson films is how brave and bold he is at doing something different to other filmmakers. It’s not often we see different styles of filmmaking in the one feature, yet Anderson showcases this brilliantly in The French Dispatch. I also love how beautiful all his shots are; you could hit pause at any moment of the movie, could print it, frame it (or put it on a t-shirt), and many would be none the wiser that this capture would be from a feature length film.

While some of the short films within The French Dispatch are more enjoyable than others, it is undeniable how fiercely creative and clever Anderson is. The film also contains many cheeky comedic moments that had me cackling. Unfortunately, due to the style of filming, showcasing short films within the one feature length presentation, The French Dispatch isn’t as cohesive as I would have liked, although I think this was always and entirely Anderson’s intention.

Sure, the stories within The French Dispatch could be more in depth and emotionally pulling, but this is forgivable due to its charming style, clever choice of colours, and its star-studded cast all willing to have their fun under Anderson’s direction, even if only for short brief precious moments on camera.

I highly recommend seeing The French Dispatch, but only if you’re a already fan of Wes Anderson work. Unfortunately, it is not ideal for Wes Anderson beginners and won’t be pushing any of your existing Wes Anderson favourites off their perches. Nevertheless, Wes Anderson’s creative, clever and ambitious style remains firm, and is out on display for all to see. The French Dispatch may not be to everyone’s taste, but regardless, this is a film like that needs to be seen on the big screen.

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