Review By Daniel Occelli
Wes Anderson is back after 7 years since his last live action film with a huge task, continue to be Wes Anderson in an industry that keeps on changing, staying true to his style while working with an accumulated toll of 28 Oscar Nominations and 9 Oscar Wins within his cast and satisfying new fans and old snubs, all in less than 2 hours. And he accomplishes all of that and more in The French Dispatch.
This is the most Wes Anderson movie that’s ever existed, from the first frame to the last, a deaf man and a blind man would agree, it’s a 2-hour party inside Wes Anderson’s brain and I’m glad I could experience it, because this is exactly what the industry needed and I’m not exaggerating. The last time we saw a Wes Anderson live action film, the world hadn’t been introduced to the content dump of the streaming wars, and after a couple of years of weekly Netflix Originals, MCU and Star Wars weekly content and a freaking pandemic that kept us locked in for 10 months I have to say… films don’t feel like films anymore, even if you loved Dune and The Last Duel you have to agree with me to a certain degree. So I love the fact that even though Hollywood’s changing so much there will always be one constant, no matter the cast involved, the budget or the state of the industry, we will always count on Wes Anderson’s charm and beauty, we will always find comfort in the whimsical structure in which he manages to tell the most relatable stories, and we will always appreciate the absurd background in which he wraps the most beautiful themes of love, friendship, passion and humanity.
That being said, let’s talk about the film itself, the cast is unbelievable, it’s amazing how people just want to be a part of this stories, no matter the scope of their character, that’s why we find triple A names in one scene roles, let me just list some names off: you have your usual suspects in Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston (As a narrator this time) and of course, Bill Murray, they have been with Wes Anderson throughout his career some since the first film. Then you have your recent returners, they may have not been a part of Rushmore or The Darjeeling Limited, but they are back after 1 or 2 collabs with the GOAT, this would be Saoirse Ronan, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban, Tony Revolori and Mathieu Amalric. And this time he’s joined by some big names we haven’t seen before. Lea Seydoux, Timothee Chalamet, Benicio del Toro, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Elisabeth Moss, and OUTSTANDING newcomer Lyna Khoudri… I might have missed a few, but just naming the cast took all the word count I needed to post this review, it’s insane.
I don’t think we’ve ever seen an ensemble quite like this, only Wes Anderson could pull this off, not only because of the fact that EVERY LIVING ACTOR seems to want to be in his films but also because of how he structures his stories, even easier to do in an anthology like this one, but since The Grand Budapest Hotel he has this constant time shifts in his narrative, all the stories are stories within stories within stories and somehow they all make perfect sense and are easy to follow through, this all thanks to the cinematography, the music, and the overall production design of the film, it truly is a feat to acknowledge what he was able to do here.
The French Dispatch tells 3 different stories in the last issue of a locally beloved American magazine in a small town in France. One about an insane artist, the second one about a young group of rebels and the last story about a chef and a writer wrapped up in the kidnapping of the town’s commissar. All of them are absurd and hilarious, but they each touch on different subjects in such a perfect, subtle manner. I won’t get much into detail what each story does, but they are all beautiful and even with such a huge scope, they feel so relatable and personal, my personal favorite being the story about the young rebels.
The technical aspects of the film are just perfect, no surprise there, the score never stops, the cinematography carries the narrative, and the production design is the movie… it is the movie, without a doubt it will take some awards home come Oscar season.
I think I’ve said more than enough about The French Dispatch. It is, without a doubt, a pure masterpiece… that’s something I haven’t said in a while, and it feels good to say again.
I will give The French Dispatch a 10/10, an A+, and I can’t wait to watch it for the rest of my life when I feel like I need a little hope in my life. Wes Anderson is in my opinion the GOAT.