Film review: ‘The French Dispatch’


Antonio Monda | Wikimedia Commons

Director Wes Anderson with actors Edward Norton and Bill Murray.

By Madelaine Vikse , Lifestyle Editor

“The French Dispatch” is a comedy drama and director Wes Anderson’s latest film that follows the fictional “The French Dispatch Magazine.”

Anderson has directed films such as “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Anderson’s films feature unconventional and colorful characters, animation, lots of dry humor, an eccentric storyline as well as a picturesque setting.

“The French Dispatch” features a star-studded cast including Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jeffrey Wright and more.

The film starts off after editor-in-chief Arthur Howitzer, Jr., played by Bill Murray, of “The French Dispatch Magazine,” has died and stated that after his death, the magazine should cease to exist. 

The film features four stories representing different sections of the final edition of “The French Dispatch Magazine” to be released; “Revisions to a Manifesto by Lucinda Krementz,” “The Cycling Reporter by Herbsaint Sazerac,” “The Concrete Masterpiece by J.K.L. Berensen” and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner by Roebuck Wright.”

By far the best story in the film is “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner by Roebuck Wright,” which features Roebuck Wright, played by Jeffrey Wright, retelling a story about the kidnapping of the Commissaire’s son. Wright’s acting is impressive, captivating and full of emotion.

Anderson does a fantastic job switching between reality and animation effortlessly near the end of the film, keeping the viewer engaged with a dramatic and suspenseful car chase.

Cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman shows his talent for interesting camera angles as well as his exceptional use of color and symmetry. Yeoman has previously worked with Anderson on films such as “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Rushmore” and “Bottle Rocket.”

The film’s score is most comparable to that of “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” featuring light and playful piano melodies. Composer Alexandre Desplat has previously collaborated with Anderson on films such as “Isle of Dogs,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” 

Anderson is set to release another film in 2022, titled “Asteroid City,” but little is known about the upcoming film’s storyline.

The film is still very entertaining and well-done, but it is not Anderson’s best film that he has directed. At some points, there were so many events happening so quickly that it was hard to absorb and remember every detail. Overall, the movie is still fantastic but falls short to some of Anderson’s previous films.

“The French Dispatch” is about an hour and 43 minutes long and was released in selected theaters on Oct. 22, before being widely released a week later on Oct. 29. Click here to find showtimes at a theater near you.