The French Dispatch, 2021.
Written and Directed by Wes Anderson.
Starring Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Mathieu Amalric, Lyna Khoudri, Steve Park, Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Lois Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Christoph Waltz, Cécile de France, Guillaume Gallienne, Jason Schwartzman, Tony Revolori, Rupert Friend, Henry Winkler, Bob Balaban, Hippolyte Girardot, Anjelica Huston, Denis Ménochet, Alex Lawther, Vincent Lacoste, Benjamin Lavernhe, Vincent Macaigne, Félix Moati, Wallace Wolodarsky, Fisher Stevens, Griffin Dunne, and Stéphane Bak.
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”.
Writer and director Wes Anderson takes his whimsical humor and quirks to the format of what is essentially an anthology film. Centered on an American newspaper publication operating out of the fictional Ennui-sur-Blasé, France, The French Dispatch uses the structure of a remembrance magazine for its now-deceased founder Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray). Celebrating the warm and fair editor (who does not allow crying in his office), the staff (comprised of major glorified cameos including the likes of Elisabeth Moss, Owen Wilson, and others) decide that this final issue should consist of a small greatest hits of stories concluding with a farewell.
The anthology structure almost feels as if Wes Anderson (working on the narrative with Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola, and Hugo Guinness) is being freed from shackles. He’s less concerned with plot this time around, using his love letter to writers as free reign to let his visually playful mind run amok. The French Dispatch is an overpowering fire on the senses, whether from rat-a-tat, witty dialogue exchanges, or undeniably striking shot compositions (often of his trademark symmetrical wide-angle variety) that are packed with background characters bringing the frame further to life.
It needs a repeat viewing or two to absorb fully, which is also a desire once the credits roll. Scenes and shots wash over you and sometimes inundate you, but not without wanting to understand every frame in all their imaginative and vibrant grandeur.
Tickets can be purchased here. They are currently sold out but keep checking back in case something changes.
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com