The French Dispatch Review: Everything you should know!
The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun is a 2021 American comedy-drama anthology film written, directed, and produced by Wes Anderson from a story conceived with Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman.
The film features an ensemble cast featuring Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Lee Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lina Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Matthew Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson.
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The French Dispatch Review: Should you watch the movie?
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And, like Anderson’s best films, The French Dispatch is downright exquisite and deceptively complex—a film that, like the finest cuisine, is also rich in its aftertaste.
First, there is the aesthetic pleasure of their dollhouse dioramas. Anderson’s work has never felt so balanced, detailed, and precise as that captured by his regular cinematographer, Robert Yeoman.
It’s also so packed with A-listers and favorite allies that the presence of Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz almost feels like the latter.
But then, underneath, lies the sadness—a distinctive feature of the Anderson film, where very lonely souls try to romanticize their pain through sixties records and vintage leather boots. It should feel trivial and unpromising. But then, why do his movies always make me cry?
There is something very satisfying about this part of the film. Benicio del Toro is the imprisoned and unstable modernist genius Moses who, in the presence of the prison guard, Simone (Seidoux), slowly moves his hand as Oliver Hardy.
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He can’t stop looking at Simone. The latter, like a hardened farmer who confronts troubled cows, shuns his affection. Sioux hasn’t been this funny since Lobster.
Wright and Liev Schreiber are also in top form in “the police commissioner’s private dining room.” For the most part, the pair sit in a TV studio discussing ideas.
Schreiber, as the host of Dick Cavett-style, is delightfully pretentious, while Wright’s Roebuck Wright (apparently based on James Baldwin) manages to be both gentle and anal-retention.
The film, Anderson has said, was born out of a desire to pay tribute to the New Yorker, but French Dispatch – a magazine, we are told, started by expatriate journalist Arthur Howitzer Jr. Precious from Manhattan Inspiration.
It also claims to be an offshoot of Liberty, Kansas’ Evening Sun, although it is located in the picturesque and staggeringly quaint French town of Ennui-sur-Blasse.
Episodes from the film have been labeled by magazine sections: a “local color” story featuring Wilson as a bicycling reporter; an “art and artist” sequence in which Benicio del Toro plays a convicted murderer who also happens to be a gifted painter;
The “politics and poetry” story of an unlikely romance between a young firebrand and a seasoned reporter (Francis McDormand), set against a backdrop of student protests; a “Taste and Smell” segment in which Jeffrey Wright tells of kidnapping,
With presentations by Ronan and Matthew Amalric and an animated chase sequence; And a lovely “end note” under the heading “Rejection and Death”.