The French Dispatch is a witty and charming anthology by one of films most creative directors. Longtime fans of Wes Anderson’s films are in for a treat.
The French Dispatch is the tenth film by visionary film auteur Wes Anderson. The film is an anthology of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city. Longtime viewers will recognize the director’s usual stylistic panache of symmetrical composition, limited color palettes, and deadpan humor. However, the anthology format sets The French Dispatch apart from Anderson’s other films.
I was enthralled at how expertly stories were woven within other stories. Through the framework of a fictitious magazine we are privy to tales of a frustrated artist, a student revolution, and a crime at dinner. The sudden leaps in time and place are demarcated by shifts from black-and-white to color, and in some cases, animation. Every visual technique that Anderson has employed in his previous films is pushed even further.
Yet, The French Dispatch does not succumb to being “style without substance.” It’s a film that rewards multiple viewings and I was able to pick up some meta-commentary on the nature of Art and a few playful nose-tweaks directed at Anderson’s critics. So much about the film is unconventional, but the story wouldn’t work any other way. In a world where blockbusters opt for gritty realism, Anderson employs surrealistic theatricality. For a film filled to the brim with stars, I’d be hard pressed to say who the star of the film was. However cartoonish the plot becomes, it succeeds in expressing emotional truth.
If you’re fan of unique and innovative films, The French Dispatch is a must-see! I greatly anticipate Wes Anderson’s next film, Asteroid City.